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Coronavirus impact: Support for Nest Connectors

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Many people in the UK face uncertainty as the Coronavirus situation develops. We want to reassure you that we’re taking all necessary steps to ensure that the services we - and our partners - deliver remain available and operate without interruption.

We have the technology in place to enable our staff to work remotely and continue to support you. All the ways you can contact us remain open and fully operational. Our systems have not been altered and will continue to work in the same way.

What impact does coronavirus have on workers ongoing contributions?

With the global impact of coronavirus dominating daily news, some of your employers and their workers may also be asking what this means for pension savings. We recognise this is a difficult time and we’ll be updating this page regularly.

Presently, employers’ duties remain unchanged, so please where possible continue to follow your normal processes for your employers and pay contributions when they are due.

The government has recently announced a range of measures aimed at helping businesses continue to keep employees on their workforce and payroll in these difficult times.

The government has confirmed that as part of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme the grants available to employers are intended to support business and their employees by covering up to 80% of the costs of employment (80% of furloughed employees’ usual monthly wage costs, up to £2,500 a month, plus the associated Employer National Insurance contributions and minimum automatic enrolment employer pension contributions on that wage).

For more information from the government please see Check if you can claim for your employees’ wages through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

Can employer pension contributions be paused?

No. The employer is responsible for paying employer pension contributions and deducting any employee pension contributions based upon the pay each worker receives.

Some employers have stopped paying some workers, what do we need to do?

For those workers where the employer has stopped paying them, they should be marked as ‘ceased contributions’ in the Nest system. If the employer starts to pay them in the future they should enroll them into the Nest system if they are eligible.

You may find the following links useful:

How do I let Nest know if a worker wants to stop making contributions?

How do I use a CSV file to let you know a member has left employment?

How do I let you know a member has left employment using my online account?

Will employers be reported to The Pensions Regulator if they don’t pay pension contributions?

Yes, we’re still required to report employers for failed payments. However, the Regulator also understands these are exceptionally challenging times and for this exceptional period require us to report employers for late payment when they are over 150 days late in paying, rather than the previous 90 days. This gives employers longer to bring payments up to date before being formally reported to the Regulator.

The Pensions Regulator has published the following statement: “We know this is a challenging time for everyone and we recognise the strain this is putting on employers. We will take a proportionate and risk-based approach towards the enforcement of decisions, in light of these challenging times, with the aim of helping to get employers back on track and supporting both employers and savers.”

If an employer uses government grants to pay their workers, do they still need to deduct pension contributions?

The Pensions Regulator have advised that all usual pension contribution deductions apply. Contributions will be based on what workers are paid and employers are responsible for meeting the statutory minimum pension contributions. The grants will include the pension contributions and employer’s National Insurance. Employers can choose to top up workers’ pay and if they do that pay the increased pension contributions.

When calculating the pension contribution due for a furloughed worker who has agreed a salary sacrifice arrangement for pension contributions, any contractual obligations you have entered into and the obligation in the pension scheme rules continue to apply as normal. For more information please see DC pension contributions: Covid-19 technical guidance for large employers.

Will the government grants under the job retention scheme cover pension contributions?

Yes. These grants are intended to support businesses and their workers by covering up to 80% of the workers usual monthly wage costs, up to £2,500 a month, plus the associated Employer National Insurance contributions and minimum automatic enrolment employer pension contributions on that reduced wage.

Some employers have stopped paying some workers, what do we need to do? 

For those workers where the employer has stopped paying them, they should be marked as ‘ceased contributions’ in the Nest system. If the employer starts to pay them in the future they should enroll them into the Nest system (if they are eligible) as they would do for any other new member.

An employer is suspending business activities what do we need to do with their workers’ pensions?

If an employer is no longer paying workers, they should mark all their Nest members with ‘ceased contributions’. A further check should be made of all contribution schedules to make sure that they are up to date. Any outstanding schedules will trigger late payment processes.

Some workers have asked to stop pension contributions, can employers tell all employees about this option?

Employers should not advise or encourage workers to stop contributions. This could be considered an inducement and would be a breach of their legal duties. We’re obliged to monitor this and report any such incidents to The Pensions Regulator.

Is the government going to reduce or suspend employer and employee pension contributions for automatic enrolment?

No. The government anticipates that employer and worker contributions will continue to help workers save for retirement.

Should employers cancel their Direct Debit?

No. Please advise employers to keep their Direct Debit active – there’s no need to cancel it. As per normal processes, we will only collect payments from a Direct Debit when instructed to do so.

Can employers move from direct credit to Direct Debit?

Employers who pay by direct credit can move to Direct Debit to pay contributions if this makes submitting contributions easier whilst business operate in new circumstances.  

If employers want to move to Direct Debit please see How can I change my payment method from direct credit to Direct Debit?

What additional action should I consider?

Check that in the event of staff illness you’ve provided sufficient number of users access to each employer’s account so you can continue to manage all of your employer accounts. For more information see How do I assign a Nest connect user to an employer?

Getting in touch with us

If you require assistance, please contact us through our normal channels, including by accessing our help centre.

These are unprecedented times and our teams are here to support you. We’ll work to ensure this page remains up to date and contains the latest information.

If your employers, or their workers have questions they may find the links below useful:

How will my investments with Nest be affected by coronavirus?

Coronavirus impact: Support for employers and your workers

Pension Scams and online security

Scammers are preying on fears related to coronavirus. Protect yourself and your business from phishing scams. Remember that emails from Nest come from an email address ending in @nestpensions.org.uk or occasionally from @videosmart.com, a trusted partner. Any other address is likely to be fraudulent. Find out more about Pension scams and online security.

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