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Pensions: what’s new this week - 13 July 2020

Each week the Allen & Overy Pensions team rounds up the latest legal and regulatory developments in the world of occupational pensions. Contact us if you would like to receive our podcast summary, or our full briefing by email, at the start of each week. Listen to our latest podcast or read the full version of 'What's new this week' below to find out more information on the stories that matter to you.

Summer statement: pensions

The Chancellor’s summer statement announced a package of measures aimed at supporting jobs; no changes to pensions tax relief were announced.

The government announced a new ‘Kickstart Scheme’ aimed at persons aged 16-24 who are on Universal Credit and are deemed to be at risk of long-term unemployment. According to the background policy paper, government funding for each job will cover 100% of the relevant National Minimum Wage for 25 hours a week, plus the associated employer National Insurance contributions and employer minimum auto-enrolment contributions. A worker’s eligibility for employer contributions depends partly on age and earnings – you can read more in our guide Auto-enrolment and re-enrolment deconstructed.

New PPF powers on moratoriums, restructuring plan

The Corporate Insolvency and Governance Act contains new measures for struggling businesses including moratorium and restructuring plan options. You can read more about key implications of the Act here and here.

Last minute changes in Parliament introduced the power to make regulations that would give the Pension Protection Fund (PPF) the ability to exercise certain creditor rights. These regulations came into force on 7 July and enable the PPF to exercise voting and other rights that would otherwise be exercisable by scheme trustees where there is a moratorium, or where a restructuring plan is proposed.

PPF levy: Covid-19 extension; paperless option

The PPF has announced that it may allow a longer interest-free period for the payment of levy invoices, where there are payment difficulties caused by Covid-19 coronavirus. This is subject to the PPF being satisfied with an application; the interest waiver cannot be confirmed until after the levy has been paid. More information is available here.

Once a levy invoice is received, an online Covid-19 coronavirus notification form must be completed within 28 days, explaining how Covid-19 coronavirus has negatively impacted the relevant scheme/business and affected the ability to pay the levy. The PPF’s policy intention is that, where it is satisfied with an application, interest will be waived as long as the levy is paid within 90 days.

The PPF has also announced the introduction of a paperless option for invoices – levy payers will receive both a paper and an electronic version unless they complete a form to receive only an electronic invoice.

Dashboards: call for input

The Pensions Dashboard Programme (PDP) has published a call for input on data standards for pensions dashboards. In April 2020, two working papers were published on data scope and data definitions (see WNTW, 14 April 2020). The PDP is now seeking input on questions related to these papers, to help it deliver an initial set of data standards. The call for input closes on 31 August 2020.