23rd February 2016 Rosalind Connor in Professional Pensions re What TPR’s landmark AE case means for schemes

Rosalind Connor comments in Professional Pensions about the possible implication of TPR’s Auto Enrolment Case. In this case, the High Court ruled that TPR was correct in assessing peripatetic workers by looking at where the tour of duty begins and ends; thus the workers are subject to AE as the regulators argued.

Rosalind says: “This is very much a victory for the regulator, which has taken quite a strong position. The legislation is very wide because it covers both people working in the UK and ordinarily working in the UK, so the regulator has gained a lot of guidance here.”

However, she says it will continue to be challenging for the employers of peripatetic workers “because the situation is complex and fraught with uncertainty.”

She says that it is not surprising that the courts are taking a view similar to that of TPR. “The point of the legislation is to try and throw the net as wide as we possibly can for pension coverage in the UK, rather than narrowing it down,” Connor adds.

Rosalind says the outcome has confirmed something the industry has long suspected: a workforce that is coming from and ending up in the UK should be treated as a workforce that needs to be auto-enrolled.

She adds: “The broad view, which the regulator has taken, is one that seems to be supported by the courts. The view is that the phrase ‘ordinarily working’, outlined in the Pensions Act 2008, is an obsolete employment law term. In this case, the courts seemed to go back to old employment law.”

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