The Pensions Bill’s Beecroft Clause

It didn’t get much attention at the time, lost as it was under a hail of dogmatic and poorly conceived recommendations, but one of the main ideas in Adrian Beecroft’s 2011 report advocating a bonfire of employment regulations involved doing away with pensions auto-enrolment for small employers. Thankfully, we aren’t there yet – but the Pensions Bill, which has its second reading on Monday, contains an explosive clause which could allow a future Conservative majority government to deliver on Beecroft’s disturbing vision.

In short, Beecroft wanted all employers with fewer than five employees to be exempt from auto-enrolment. This means they would have no obligation to make contributions towards a pension for their workers, even though the statutory minimum contributions are set at a very low level, only applicable on a band of earnings rather than full salary, and phased in gradually over several years. He also wanted to give employers with fewer than ten employees the right to opt out of auto-enrolment.

The government didn’t bite.

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Image: UK Parliament