Moses, so we are told, was 120 years old when he died, and “biz hundert un tsvantsik” – [may you live] until 120 – is an old blessing. The joke it gave rise to is probably just as old: Harry is fed up with his noisy neighbour, so he confronts him: “May you live to 119!” he says to his neighbour. “May you live to 120!” he says to his neighbour’s wife. “Why the difference?” asks the neighbour. “After putting up with you, she deserves a year of peace and quiet.” is the reply.

Whilst pension scheme actuaries are not yet assuming that schemes will have 120 year olds, most scheme funding assumes that some pensioners will be receiving their pensions well into their 100s. This is the case even though the latest mortality tables show a slowdown in the rate of increase of longevity.

Continue Reading May you live to 120

In his latest podcast, Richard Goldstein looks at some legal developments and deadlines in the pensions industry that will occur, or are expected to occur, during the course of 2019. You can access the podcast here.

Listen to or subscribe to our UK Pensions Law podcast series via iTunes here. Please note that subscribing using this link will only work on a device with iTunes installed. Alternatively, if you don’t have iTunes, you can access our archive of UK Pensions Law podcasts here.

Look out for notifications of the latest UK Pensions Law podcasts in future blog posts – we welcome your feedback on particular topics/areas of interest.

We will be featuring contributions from our global employment and benefits team on this blog, highlighting particular topics and issues of interest to UK employers with operations overseas.

This post, the first in our series of “Spotlights”, provides you with links to recent commentary and guidance from our Employment & Benefits team in France:

  • The recent reforms implemented by the Macron Administration demonstrate that France wants to move towards increased flexibility for employers without neglecting employees’ rights. In his article for Bloomberg Law, Employment & Benefits partner Julien Haure covers two symbolic changes initiated by the Macron Administration: (i) the introduction of capped damages for employment litigation; and (ii) the simplification of telecommuting.
  • Another reform arising from the Macron Administration relates to staff representation. By 1 January 2020, every company in France with 11 employees or more should have organised elections for the implementation of a new staff representative body, referred to as the Social and Economic Council (SEC). Julian Haure and associate Marine Hamon outline the implications for employers in their article published by Law360.
  • The French courts have been grappling with the issue of employment status recently, as covered in the recent legal update by Employment & Benefits partner Régine Goury. This is an area that employers, in France and beyond, are continuing to monitor closely.
  • The “right to disconnect”, introduced in France in 2017, has been widely reported in the UK and overseas. Julien Haure and Marine Hamon examine the right in detail, covering employers’ obligations, the practical impact and the steps that employers can take to ensure compliance, in their article for Today’s General Counsel.

If you would like further guidance on employment and benefits issues in France, and/or would like to register for our French legal updates, please contact Julien Haure or Régine Goury.

The qualifying earnings bands for the purposes of automatic enrolment are due to increase on 6 April 2019. For the tax year 2019/2020, the lower qualifying earnings threshold will be £6,136 (instead of £6,032) and the upper qualifying earnings threshold will be £50,000 (instead of £46,350). The old faithful earnings trigger will continue to remain stable at £10,000.

Why is this important?

Since October 2012, employers have had to make arrangements for certain workers in the UK to be automatically enrolled into a pension scheme that satisfies certain conditions (a qualifying scheme). Very broadly, workers fall into one of three categories (summarised below).

Continue Reading New year, new rates… of automatic enrolment qualifying earnings

Mayer Brown launched A Global Guide to Employee Data Privacy recently, the latest in our series of global guides, covering 55 key countries in the Americas, Asia and EMEA.

In case you missed it, the guide is a useful resource for employers with operations in more than one country who need to navigate the many challenges of handling employee data in different jurisdictions.

It includes:

  • Key FAQs – covering:
    • the application of the GDPR alongside national laws in EU jurisdictions;
    • the laws regulating the handling of applicant and employee personal data;
    • the requirement to have privacy policies or similar agreements to deal with employee data;
    • best practice for retaining employee personal data;
    • restrictions on transferring employee data overseas or to third parties;
    • sanctions for breaching the relevant laws; and
    • potential pitfalls when handling employee data.
  • “In Brief” and “In Detail” Guidance – ensuring the guide will be a valuable starting point, providing both quick reference and more substantive content across the jurisdictions.

Please click here to view the guide in ebook format and to register for the guide in print-friendly, interactive PDF format.

Employers and trustees who use a guarantee or charge to reduce their pension scheme’s Pension Protection Fund (PPF) levy may need to re-execute that guarantee/charge in order for it to be taken into account in calculating the scheme’s 2019/20 PPF levy.

The PPF provides protection for members of DB pension schemes whose sponsoring employer becomes insolvent. It is funded in part by an annual levy payable by DB pension schemes.

Continue Reading Pension Protection Fund levy – re-execution of contingent assets required

We understand how difficult it can be to keep up to date with developments in employment and pensions law. For practical, on-the-go, commentary, you may wish to download our UK Employment Law and UK Pensions Law podcasts.

Nick Robertson, head of our London Employment group, presents the fortnightly Employment Law podcasts and discusses three cases/developments which have a significant impact on employers. Special episodes involve Nick interviewing key speakers for their perspectives on relevant issues. In his latest podcast, Nick is joined by Omar El-Khattabi, from our Middle East practice, to discuss some of the legal issues facing employers taking on staff in Saudi Arabia and UAE.

Richard Goldstein, partner in the London Pensions group, presents the monthly Pensions Law podcasts and discusses timely and relevant topics in the pensions industry, providing a quick and easy way to stay on top of current issues in pensions law. In his latest podcast, Richard looks at new trustee investment and disclosure duties that will come into force in October 2019 and October 2020.

Our archive of UK Employment Law and UK Pensions Law podcasts can be accessed here. Look out for notifications of the latest podcasts in future blog posts – we welcome your feedback on particular topics/areas of interest.

The High Court has held that pension schemes are required to equalise benefits for the effect of guaranteed minimum pensions (GMPs) accrued between 1990 and 1997. The Court also considered a number of possible equalisation methods.

It held that the employer could require the trustees to adopt the cheapest method.

Continue Reading GMP equalisation – an increase to DB pension scheme liabilities

Welcome to our new blog, “Employer Perspectives”, which is designed to provide practical insights and commentary for UK employers on developments in the employment and pensions industries. Subjects for comment include legislative changes, case law, regulatory developments and wider industry trends that will have a direct impact on UK employers. The contributors are members of our London Employment and Pensions teams, all of whom have wide-ranging experience advising employers on employment and pensions issues. There will also be guest contributors from other teams in our London office and our wider global Employment & Benefits Group.

Employer Perspectives is the third blog to be produced by our global Employment & Benefits Group – the others are:

  • Benefits & Compensation Blog which provides insights on developments in the fields of employee benefits, executive compensation, and pension investments; and
  • The Mobile Workforce which provides employers with a direct line of sight into immigration policy-making and practices across worldwide centres.