Sailors and pilots to be auto-enrolled following landmark ruling

Lesley Titcombe

Firms employing offshore workers will have to enroll them in workplace pensions following a landmark ruling.

Fleet Maritime Services launched a judicial review challenging The Pensions Regulator’s approach to staff who work in different locations, including sailors and airline pilots.

Fleet – which employs sailors on P&O Cruises and Cunard – argued many of its UK staff were not covered by auto-enrolment because they worked in international waters.

But in a High Court judgment Mr Justice Leggatt backed the regulator’s approach to so-called peripatetic workers.

He agreed the location of the worker’s base should be the main consideration when deciding whether or not someone should be auto-enrolled.

It is the first time TPR’s regulation of auto-enrolment has been subject to a judicial review.

TPR chief executive Lesley Titcomb says: “This ruling comes at the end of a 12 month legal challenge and is an important legal victory for us on a number of levels.

“The judge confirmed that our approach in this particular case, and our guidance on how to assess peripatetic workers for the purpose of automatic enrolment, is correct.”

She adds: “In addition this case also demonstrates that where appropriate we are prepared to defend against judicial reviews and our commitment to upholding the principles of automatic enrolment.”