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Employers not providing access to pension surgeries

written by Bella Palmer

Just 22% of employers were providing pension surgeries available to employees remote from the physical workplace, according to the survey by Howden Employee Benefits & Wellbeing

Research published by Howden Employee Benefits & Wellbeing (Howden) suggests that the vast majority of employers are not providing employees with access to pension surgeries whilst working from home.

The survey, which was undertaken in September 2020, found that just 22% of employers were providing pension surgeries available to employees remote from the physical workplace, and only 17% were taking advantage of video conferencing technology to do so.

Steve Herbert, Head of Benefits Strategy at Howden says: Like so many other elements of our daily and work life, pension savings and personal retirement planning may well have been impacted by the turbulence of the pandemic in recent months.  It follows that many employees will currently have some very valid concerns and questions that need to be addressed by their employer’s chosen pension experts.

Yet despite these important considerations only 1 in every 5 employers are providing access to pension surgeries for workers who are away from the physical workplace.  This is somewhat surprising since the wider world of UK business has now embraced video conferencing for so many other forms of meetings, yet apparently not for the increasingly important topic of workplace pensions.

Howden highlight that video surgeries provide a number of advantages over the traditional method of provision in the physical workplace.  Benefits include the ability to deliver the session at a time more suitable to the employee and employer, and in an environment that provides the employee with a greater sense of privacy too.  And of course the sessions can reach even the most isolated team member as well.

The survey also found a significant divide in the level of support offered by employers to their workers on pension issues.  Whilst 40% of employers offered pension surgeries at least once every year, exactly the same number admitted to not offering any regular surgeries at all.  A small number of employers (12%) offered such support, but only on request by the employee.

Herbert continued: The rights to a pension scheme and employer contributions are now well established, yet many employers haven’t yet installed adequate support mechanisms to ensure that their workforce understand the pension scheme, and engage in the process of saving for their retirement.  Without such understanding many employees will find that their pension savings are nowhere near adequate to fund their retirement years, and may potentially face an impoverished retirement as a result.

Howden would strongly encourage many more employers to actively offer pension surgeries to more of their workforce via video conferencing options, as this represents a low cost and far-reaching tool to improve engagement and understanding.  It’s fair to say that many of our corporate clients and their workers have found this to be a very useful facility during these deeply uncertain –times.


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