The Pensions Act 2008 introduced new rules for workplace pensions in the UK. These changes affect every workplace and make sure that every worker will have a chance to save for their retirement.
Under these rules, every employer has to give their workers the opportunity to join a workplace pension scheme that meets certain standards. Depending on how old they are and how much they earn, many workers have to be automatically enrolled into the scheme. Other workers are entitled to join the scheme if they want to.
Workers earning over a certain amount are also entitled to a minimum contribution into their retirement pot. It’s usually made up of money taken from the workers’ pay, money paid in by their employer and money from the government, although employers can pay the entire minimum contribution themselves if they want to.
A pension (/ˈpɛnʃən/, from Latin pensiō, “payment”) is a fund into which a sum of money is added during an employee’s employment years, and from which payments are drawn to support the person’s retirement from work in the form of periodic payments. A pension may be a “defined benefit plan” where a fixed sum is paid regularly to a person, or a “defined contribution plan” under which a fixed sum is invested and then becomes available at retirement age. Pensions should not be confused with severance pay; the former is usually paid in regular installments for life after retirement, while the latter is typically paid as a fixed amount after involuntary termination of employment prior to retirement. The terms “retirement plan” and “superannuation” tend to refer to a pension granted upon retirement of the individual. Retirement plans may be set up by employers, insurance companies, the government or other institutions such as employer associations or trade unions. Called retirement plans in the United States, they are commonly known as pension schemes in the United Kingdom and Ireland and superannuation plans (or super) in Australia and New Zealand. Retirement pensions are typically in the form of a guaranteed life annuity, thus insuring against the risk of longevity. A pension created by an employer for the benefit of an employee is commonly referred to as an occupational or employer pension. Labor unions, the government, or other organizations may also fund pensions. Occupational pensions are a form of deferred compensation, usually advantageous to employee and employer for tax reasons. Many pensions also contain an additional insurance aspect, since they often will pay benefits to survivors or disabled beneficiaries. Other vehicles (certain lottery payouts, for example, or an annuity) may provide a similar stream of payments. The common use of the term pension is to describe the payments a person receives upon retirement, usually under pre-determined legal or contractual terms. A recipient of a retirement pension is known as a pensioner or retiree.