South West employers encouraged to pay a ‘Living Pension’
- An event in Bristol will reflect on experiences of the Living Pension initiative – designed to provide people with enough income in retirement – over the last six months;
- Cornwall-based Coastline Housing, one of the first employers to sign up to the accreditation, will share its experiences;
- Its pension adviser – Bristol-based Isio – is encouraging South West businesses to join the initiative.
4 September 2023: Isio, a pensions advisory firm based in Bristol, is encouraging employers from across the South West to consider signing up to Living Wage Foundation’s Living Pension accreditation.
The Living Pension is a voluntary savings target for employers who want to help workers, especially those on low pay, build up a pension pot that will provide enough income to meet everyday needs in retirement. A savings target has been set at 12% of a full-time worker’s salary, of which the employer pays in at least 7%. This builds on current pensions autoenrollment, where the employer is only obliged to contribute 3%. Employers can also choose a cash target of £2,550 (of which £1,488 comes from the employer).
Independent Cornish housing association Coastline Housing, which manages 5,000 homes, became the first housing provider and seventh overall employer to sign up to the Living Pension, which launched in March this year as a new benchmark for employers. Coastline is the first employer to use a cash contribution to ensure all workers meet the Living Pension savings standard, regardless of their earning.
Pensions advisory firm Isio has worked with Coastline since it initially trialled the scheme. To mark six months since Coastline officially joined the initiative, Isio and Coastline are hosting an event for employers from across the South West at the Bristol Harbour Hotel on Thursday 5th October. During the event they will reflect on learnings from being a part of the Living Pension initiative and look ahead to how it can benefit other employers and individual employees saving into pension schemes.
Laura Higgins, Partner and Head of Isio’s Bristol office said: “We want to encourage employers across the South west to consider the opportunity the Living Pension provides to support their employees and demonstrate a commitment to their future financial wellbeing.
“The simplicity and flexibility of the standard means that it can be targeted for maximum impact; for example, employers can allow their employees to direct some of their contributions to a Lifetime ISA, which may resonate with a young workforce where there is a low level of home ownership. It is always a challenge to help employees to understand and value pensions and while employers will need to help them to engage in the process, the Living Pension has been designed to be easy to understand.”
Andrew Craig, Isio’s Head of Reward and Benefits added: “Across the UK, 1 in 5 people live in poverty in retirement. We must encourage people to save more. The Living Pension offers a clear benchmark and for many employers underpins the wellbeing commitment that that they have made to their employees.
“While the Living Pension launched as part of a wider benefit review, it has become a catalyst for conversations about overall financial wellbeing. It is promising that employers are using it as an opportunity to engage staff and help support longer term wellbeing, rather than making a basic percentage contribution. We believe it can enter the mainstream for responsible employers, much like the Living Wage has.”
Nathan Mallows, Director of Finance, People and Change at Coastline commented:
“The campaign for a real Living Wage has been hugely successful, with over 13,000 UK employers now accredited with the Living Wage Foundation, more than double the number there were in March 2020. We want to harness the power of this movement to make the uptake of the Living Pension even faster! The Living Pension standard is about looking to the future and getting employers to ensure their pension offering is fit for purpose for their people.
“Coastline worked with Isio and the Living Wage Foundation to first understand how our people interacted with our current pension offer and what was needed to make a real impact with the investment Coastline was making to improve this. I am looking forward to sharing insights from that work with South West employers at our event in October, and hope that through our advocacy pension provision that enables people to live comfortably in retirement comes to fruition very soon.”
Katherine Chapman, Director of Living Wage Foundation commented: “We are delighted that Coastline has signed up as one of the first Living Pension employers, providing stability and security for their workers now and in the future. Over the last ten years the Living Wage campaign has grown in strength and numbers. Now paid by over 12,500 employers, it delivers essential pay rises to 430,000 workers every year. The Living Pension builds on this by encouraging employers to do more to help their workers build a pension pot that meets basic everyday needs in retirement.”
To attend the event please register: The Living Pension – Reflections on the first six months