Covid 19 update 1
Following the latest advice from the Government, we’ve taken the difficult decision to temporarily close our office from 17 March and ask our colleagues to work from home.
The plans we have put in place should allow us to remain fully functional and we’ll continue to deliver great service to our members and employers with minimal disruption. You can continue to contact us by email or by phone as normal.
The deadlines for monthly submissions and year end will remain the 19th of the respective month and we would expect that employers make every effort to make these deadlines. We appreciate fully the uncertainty we all face over the next few weeks and I’m sure you will keep us updated on progress. As always, please let us know if we can help at all.
It is also critical that retiral, leaver and death in service forms in particular, continue to be provided timeously as we must ensure that benefits are continued to paid to our members and their dependants on time.
In terms of year end data unfortunately we must still receive a spreadsheet with pays as at 31 March 2020 (further details about this can be found in the year end instructions issued earlier this week). This information is not supplied on the current monthly returns and we need it for the annual benefit statements which must be issued by 31 August 2020.
We will keep you up-to-date with any further developments.
Covid 19 update 2
We recognise many employers will be involved in delivering critical front line services and will require to allocate resource to those activities. LPF is bound by statutory requirements to operate benefit administration for our members and we rely on your data returns to allow us to do this. Paying pension benefits as they fall due is one of our critical functions and we must ensure we protect this at all times. In the event that you expect to be unable to deliver your monthly return by the 19th of the following month, please contact us and we will look to provide you with additional support.
In terms of year end data, we would also like to clarify the position set out in our previous Special Bulletin .
Only those employers who do not use the i-Connect online return or full extract are required to supply a spreadsheet with pays as at 31 March 2020 (further details about this can be found in the year end instructions issued earlier this week). Employers using the online return or full extract should consult the year end instructions for details on how to provide this information with their March return. This information is not supplied on the current monthly returns and we need it for the annual benefit statements which must be issued by 31 August 2020.
Covid 19 update 3
We’ve had a number of queries from employers and wanted to keep you up-to-date with recent guidance issued by both the Scottish Public Pensions Agency (SPPA) and the Local Government Association (LGA).
The LGA have now issued helpful guidance for employers and administering authorities on a number of issues.
You can find this guidance here https://www.lgpsregs.org/news/covid-AFAQs.php, but we would highlight the following key points as we have already had queries about these specific points:
We understand that some employers may be considering furlough for their staff (or have already taken this decision) and are looking to use the Government’s Job Retention Scheme. This Scheme allows employers to claim the employer pension contributions for furloughed employees up to the minimum required for automatic enrolment (ie 3% of income above the lower limit of qualifying earnings). The employer must pay contributions on the pay the member actually receives, however under the Job Retention Scheme employers can only claim back 3% from the Government.
As contributions to the LGPS are higher than the auto-enrolment minimum, the balance between the 3% and the amount due on the member’s actual pay needs to be paid by the employer but cannot be claimed back.