DHL Voyager Pension Scheme (PO-3830)
Mr Beveridge complains that following a TUPE transfer on 1 August 2010, Williams Lea have not made a 5% pension contribution into the Plan on his behalf. He understood that contributions from Williams Lea would be paid into the Plan, in addition to a 15% pension allowance which was paid to him as a salary enhancement.
Mr Beveridge also complains that in order to meet auto-enrolment requirements Williams Lea are taking the 1% mandatory employer contribution from the 15% pension allowance and adding it to the Plan.
Summary of the Ombudsman’s Determination and reasons
The complaint should be upheld against Williams Lea because they were not entitled to simply take the 1% mandatory employer contribution from money they had agreed to pay in cash to Mr Beveridge, following only a standard form auto-enrolment notice. Their approach failed to recognise the unique prevailing circumstances of the unusual contractual pension arrangement already in existence. .
Williams Lea should have acknowledged this arrangement, properly explained the effect of the auto-enrolment legislation on the unusual contract made with Mr Beveridge and outline his options. He should then have been given a free choice as to whether he preferred to retain the 15% as cash and opt out, or remain auto-enrolled but receive 14% as cash.
I do not uphold the complaint regarding 5% employer contributions to the Plan. There is no evidence that this was agreed by Williams Lea, or by his previous employer pre-TUPE, and Mr Beveridge should have been aware from the transfer remuneration schedule he received (dated 1 August 2010) that he would receive a 15% pension allowance in lieu of any contributions directly into the Plan. His pension statements would then have confirmed the position.
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