To help! I’m a nanny suing an ex-employer who didn’t sign me up for a pension – she’s now ignoring emails and texts: Steve Webb responds
My former employer failed to automatically enroll me in a workplace pension plan.
I am a nanny and as I understand it when the workplace pension scheme came into effect nannies were not eligible then when it was decided that nannies were eligible it was done in working from the youngest nannies to the oldest.
I worked for my former employer for four years, until recently. I spoke to my former employer about this situation and she told me it was an honest mistake and she would fix it. Since then, she no longer responds to emails and text messages.
Lost contributions: I am a nanny and my ex-employer did not register me for retirement, what can I do?
I spoke to Acas and they told me to contact the Pensions Ombudsman, which I did. They said to send a letter to my former employer stating what I was doing and they had to get back to me within eight weeks.
They also told me to contact the Pension Pegulator. I did and they said I should report my former employer for not registering me and he would be fined.
I don’t want to cause him any trouble. What do you advise me to do first?
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Steve Webb replies: Although the law requiring employers to register certain workers for a pension has been successful, not all employers have complied with their legal obligations and you seem to have failed in this.
This week happens to mark the 10th anniversary of the start of ‘auto-enrollment’, which began in October 2012 and began with Britain’s biggest employers.
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Over the next five years, the requirement to register workers with more than £10,000 a year was gradually extended to medium-sized employers and eventually to small employers, including those employing a nanny.
This means that when you started working for your former employer in 2018, they were already required by law to register you for a pension if you received more than £10,000 a year.
There were no special rules for nannies, except that small employers entered the scheme later than large employers.
There were also no specific rules regarding the age of nannies, apart from the fact that the legal requirement to register a worker only applied to people aged 22 or over.
In summary, if you were earning over £10,000 and were 22 or over, your employer was breaking the law if they did not sign you up for a work pension within three months of starting work.
By not doing so, she deprived you of the contributions she should have made to a pension on your behalf, as well as the growth of investments on that money since then.
As for what you can do to fix things, it’s certainly a good idea to contact your former employer directly first.
I see you are not getting any response so I offer you one last email which says that if she does not put things right you will be forced to complain to the Regulator of Pensions (TPR) who has the power to impose fines to employers for non-compliance.
You might mention that last year, TPR issued over 51,000 such fines, according to page 20 of its latest annual report.
If you still don’t get a response, you’ll need to decide if you want to file a complaint.
While I can understand that you didn’t want to create dissatisfaction with your former employer, now that she clearly knows she broke the law, it is unacceptable for her to try to avoid responsibility.
If you follow this you should not only get the missing dues you are owed but any future nanny employed by the same employer should hopefully find that they don’t have to fight to get what is rightfully theirs. by right.
Listen to our special podcast where Steve Webb answers readers’ retirement questions on the player below, or on Apple Podcasts, Audioboom, Spotify or visit our This is Money Podcast page.
Ask Steve Webb a question about retirement
Former Pensions Minister Steve Webb is This Is Money’s Agony’s uncle.
He’s ready to answer your questions, whether you’re still saving, quitting work, or juggling your finances in retirement.
Steve left the Department for Work and Pensions after the May 2015 election. He is now a partner in actuary and consultancy firm Lane Clark & Peacock.
If you would like to ask Steve a question about pensions, please email him at email@example.com.
Steve will do his best to respond to your message in an upcoming column, but he won’t be able to respond to everyone or correspond privately with readers. Nothing in his answers constitutes regulated financial advice. Published questions are sometimes edited for brevity or other reasons.
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If Steve is unable to answer your question, you can also contact MoneyHelper, a government-backed organization that offers free pension assistance to the public. He can be found here and his number is 0800 011 3797.
SteveWe get a lot of questions about state pension forecasts and about COPE – contracted pension equivalent. If you write to Steve on this subject, he answers a typical question from a reader here. It includes links to several of Steve’s previous columns on state pension forecasts and contracting out, which might be helpful.