With the passing of the first auto-enrolment staging date for firms employing 160-249 staff, a new solution to help SMEs to implement the scheme has been launched by Barclays Corporate and Employer Solutions (C&ES).

Freelancers contracting through Umbrella Companies will be aware that some Umbrella service providers staged on or before 1st of this month; thereafter, implementation must be completed within 12-18 months for employers to comply with the stipulated time frame.

The new solution offers a slew of SME-focused, online and offline services to take the strain out of implementation. These include a Fast Start workshop for company decision-makers, walking them through bespoke strategies for delivering the optimal auto-enrolment scheme for their firm. A project management service can also be called upon under Fast Start to support delivery of the scheme.

The solution also includes an assessment service to ascertain whether existing pension schemes are compatible with auto-enrolment, as well as a research service that benchmarks low-cost pension providers capable of providing suitable auto-enrolment solutions. The service additionally provides a comprehensive data-modelling tool for assessing exactly which auto-enrolment category employees fall into, as well as giving a clear calculation of cost and administration for the company.

Barclays has created a dedicated SME consulting team alongside the auto-enrolment service to help employers to find a way through the complex process.

Barclays C&EE’s head of employee benefit consulting, Paul Wilson, said: “This bespoke solution will bring the best of Barclays and the best of the market to SMEs through objective, tailored advice. It is this approach which we believe will make the solution, which has already proved extremely popular with clients, a success going forward.”

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