Birmingham workers most likely to get pension boost

Pension piggy bank

Birmingham-based workers are most likely to get a pension boost from their employers, research has revealed.

Some 16% of small and medium-sized companies in the Midlands who will have to start contributing to their workers' pensions this month under the auto-enrolment scheme plan to pay the minimum amount to start with but will consider upping it over time, according to Now:Pensions.

Employers of the same size in the South were far less likely to do the same, with just 8% considering paying more in. And that percentage fell to just 5% in the North of England.
The main reason for paying the minimum cited by nearly half of Northern employers was that they simply intended to comply with the set minimum contribution required, while nearly a quarter said they were committed to keeping business costs low.
Two-thirds of the Southern companies planning to top up the pension contributions they make to employees over said they would do so because they believe the minimum that has been set is too low to achieve a comfortable retirement.

Some 53% thought is would help recruit and retain staff and 40% said that by contributing more than the minimum would encourage their employees to do the same.

Under the government's auto-enrolment scheme, from July 2014 companies with between 62 and 89 employees have to contribute 1% of salary to their workers' pensions. Employees must also contribute 1%, unless they opt out.

Now:Pensions' research found that of the companies intending to contribute more than the minimum, some 54% haven't decided how much more they'll pay in, while 24% said they would add another 1% to the pot.

The pension company explained that while 1% "may seem like a meagre figure", over time it could add up to an extra £51,338 in pension savings for a worker on the average UK salary of £27,000.

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Postcode lottery

 Morten Nilsson, chief executive of NOW: Pensions, said: "Workers are facing a postcode lottery when it comes to their retirement income. Employers in the South are taking the lead, demonstrating a long-term approach to ensure their staff have the best chance of a comfortable retirement.

"If employers contribute even a small amount more than they are obliged to do, this can make a big difference to employees' final pension pots."

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