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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’ve taken all necessary steps to ensure that the services we - and our partners - deliver remain available and operate without interruption.

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?

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 confirmed that as part of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme there are grants available to support business and their employees.

For more information on these grants, 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 ‘no further contributions payable’ in their Nest account. If the employer starts to pay them in the future, they should enrol them into Nest again 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.

Here are a few points to consider when calculating the pension contribution due for a furloughed worker with a salary sacrifice arrangement: 

  • Any contractual obligations the employer has agreed to, 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.

Is there government support for businesses?

The government has confirmed that as part of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, grants are available to support businesses and their employees.

These grants will be changing over the coming months, so for more information please see Check if you can claim for your employees’ wages through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.

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 ‘no further contributions payable’. 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?

Yes. Employers who pay by direct credit can move to Direct Debit to pay contributions.  

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

An employer has become insolvent what do we need to do?

If an employer has become insolvent they have to notify us either through their Nest account or our contact centre. Please see How do I notify NEST of insolvency?

An employer is closing their business what do we need to do?

If an employer is closing their business, they have to give us a minimum of 28 days’ notice. There are a few things to consider before they stop using Nest. Please see How do I stop using NEST?

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.

Below are some answers to questions you may have about Nest Investments:

Video: Update from Nest’s CIO, Mark Fawcett

How have our investments performed in recent weeks?

Our main funds fell at the start of the pandemic but by considerably less than the main UK and international stock markets because we’ve carefully designed our long term strategy to help smooth out some of the sharper ups and downs in markets.

Were we prepared for this and if so how?

While the coronavirus pandemic is entirely unprecedented, we’ve built our investment approach on the understanding that markets go through periods of difficulty and uncertainty. We’ve prepared for difficult markets by diversifying our default funds so they are not overly reliant on any one asset class. We’re in a good position to be able to buy shares when markets are down and therefore help our members benefit when markets recover.

Do we intend to change our investment approach and if so how?

We’re keeping a close eye on developments. Our approach is long term and strategic, so any changes we make will be through that lens. We’ve prepared for situations like this by diversifying our default funds, so they are not overly reliant on any one asset class. We’re in a good position to be able to buy shares when markets are down and therefore help our members benefit when markets recover.

If you have questions from your workers about the impact of coronavirus on their investments, please guide them to How will my investments with Nest be affected by coronavirus?

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