Crawford Temple, the chief operating officer of the independent compliance and risk management agency Professional Passport, has revealed that he has been working closely with The Pensions Regulator to clarify post auto-enrolment expectations concerning the relationship between Umbrella Companies, recruitment agencies and Umbrella Company Employees.

The government announced the introduction of auto-enrolment last year in an attempt to reduce the worrying pensions shortfall in the UK’s workforce. Under the scheme, all employers – including Umbrella Companies – are required to automatically enrol their workers into an approved pension arrangement.

Umbrella Services are not permitted under the new rules to remove employees from the arrangement or to offer advice or incentives not to take part, although there is an opt-out arrangement available for any employees who would prefer not to participate. Many of the larger Umbrella Companies now have staging dates for auto-enrolment in place, and smaller outfits will be required to make similar arrangements very shortly.

In a statement, Mr Temple said: “Our approach always starts with gaining an understanding from those tasked with enforcement of what they would expect to see in a compliant situation.”

He added: “The Pensions Regulator has taken the time to understand the market and the relationships that exist. That has allowed us to agree some clear operating guidelines for both Umbrella Providers and the recruitment companies that use their workers.”

As a consequence of this liaison with The Pensions Regulator, Professional Passport has updated its provider audit standards. The latter now includes a clear review of the pensions auto-enrolment procedure.

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