Help! I’m a nanny chasing an ex-employer who didn’t enrol me into a pension – she’s now ignoring emails and texts: Steve Webb replies
My previous employer has failed to auto enrol me into a workplace pension scheme.
I am a nanny and as I understand it when the workplace pension scheme came into force nannies were not eligible and then when it was decided nannies were eligible it was done by working from the youngest nannies up to the oldest.
I worked for my previous employer for four years, until recently. I have spoken to my former employer about this situation and she said it was an honest mistake and she will get it sorted. Since then she is not replying to emails and texts.
Lost contributions: I am a nanny and my ex-employer didn’t enrol me into a pension – what can I do?
I have spoken to Acas and they said to contact the Pensions Ombudsman which I have done. They said to email a letter to my former employer stating what I was doing and that they needed to reply to me within eight weeks.
They also told me to contact the Pensions Pegulator. I did this and they said I would have to report my former employer for failing to register me and they would get fined.
I don’t want to get her in trouble. What do you suggest I do first?
SCROLL DOWN TO FIND OUT HOW TO ASK STEVE YOUR PENSION QUESTION
Steve Webb replies: Although the law requiring employers to enrol certain workers into a pension has been very successful, not every employer has complied with their legal duties and you appear to have missed out as a result.
As it happens, this week marks the 10th anniversary of the start of ‘automatic enrolment’, which began in October 2012 and started off with Britain’s largest employers.
Steve Webb: Find out how to ask the former Pensions Minister a question about your retirement savings in the box below
Over the following five years, the duty to enrol workers on more than £10,000 a year was steadily extended to medium sized employers and eventually to small employers, including people who employ a nanny.
This means that when you started working for your previous employer in 2018, she was already required by law to enrol you in a pension if you were paid more than £10,000 per year.
There were no special rules for nannies, other than the fact that small employers were brought into the scheme later than larger employers.
There were also no special rules about the age of nannies, apart from the fact that the legal duty to enrol a worker only applies to those aged 22 or above.
In summary, if you earned over £10,000 and you were aged 22 or above, your employer was breaking the law if she did not enrol you into a workplace pension within three months of you starting work.
By not doing so, she has deprived you of the contributions she should have been making into a pension on your behalf, as well as the investment growth on that money since then.
In terms of what you can do to put things right, it is definitely sensible to contact your former employer directly first.
I see that you are getting no response, so I suggest a final email which says that if she does not put things right you will be forced to make a complaint to the Pensions Regulator (TPR) which has the power to fine employers for non-compliance.
You could mention that in the last year TPR issued over 51,000 such fines according to page 20 of their latest annual report.
If you still get no response then you will need to decide whether to make a complaint.
Whilst I can understand that you don’t want to create ill will with your former employer, now that she clearly knows that she has broken the law it is unacceptable that she is trying to avoid her responsibilities.
If you follow this through you should not only get the missing contributions that you are owed, but any future nanny employed by the same employer should hopefully find they do not have to battle to get what is rightfully theirs.
Listen to our special podcast where Steve Webb answers readers’ pension questions on the player below, or at Apple Podcasts, Audioboom, Spotify or visit our This is Money Podcast page.
Ask Steve Webb a pension question
Former Pensions Minister Steve Webb is This Is Money’s Agony Uncle.
He is ready to answer your questions, whether you are still saving, in the process of stopping work, or juggling your finances in retirement.
Steve left the Department of Work and Pensions after the May 2015 election. He is now a partner at actuary and consulting firm Lane Clark & Peacock.
If you would like to ask Steve a question about pensions, please email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Steve will do his best to reply to your message in a forthcoming column, but he won’t be able to answer everyone or correspond privately with readers. Nothing in his replies constitutes regulated financial advice. Published questions are sometimes edited for brevity or other reasons.
Please include a daytime contact number with your message – this will be kept confidential and not used for marketing purposes.
If Steve is unable to answer your question, you can also contact MoneyHelper, a Government-backed organisation which gives free assistance on pensions to the public. It can be found here and its number is 0800 011 3797.
Steve receives many questions about state pension forecasts and COPE – the Contracted Out Pension Equivalent. If you are writing to Steve on this topic, he responds to a typical reader question here. It includes links to Steve’s several earlier columns about state pension forecasts and contracting out, which might be helpful.