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Employees get consultation rights on pension changes

Members need to understand their scheme and the effect that changes will have on it and their future pensions’

Employers which want to make major changes to their occupational pension schemes will have to give scheme members a consul- tation period of at least 60 days under new regulations from the Department for Work and PensionsThe rules have been published under the Pensions Act 2004 which will be implemented on A-Day in April this year.

The changes initially affect companies with over 150 employees. Smaller firms with up to 50 staff will be covered by the regulations from April 2008.

The TUC has welcomed the move, although general secretary Brendan Barber considers that the regulations do not go far enough.

Pensions reform minister Stephen Timms hopes the move will encourage pension scheme members to play a more active role in decisions.

The DWP has set out details to ensure carers are taking steps to boost their pensions and also measures aimed at improving pension rights for staff changing jobs.

Timms says it is important that carers are aware of their entitlements and take steps to ensure maximum benefit before A-Day.

He says: “These regulations will mean that employees will now have a full voice about any major changes to their pension scheme.

“Members need to understand their scheme and the effect that changes will have on the scheme and their future pensions.”

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