Training & Benefits (including Pensions)

As a valuable additional benefit of registering with Step Ahead, you will qualify for free application training and a work place pension scheme.

The training is computer based and is conducted at our premises. Training can be tailored to suit individual requirements so you can come along and learn, for example, Excel from scratch, upgrade your skills to a newer version of software you already know, or you can simply take training on a specific function of an application, such as the Mail Merge function in Word. It’s up to you.

Just contact a member of our team to discuss the courses available or to book yourself in – and remember, it’s free!

Free Training

Training is computer based and is conducted at our Farringdon premises so you can come along and learn. Training sessions can be tailored to suit your individual requirements so you can learn Excel from scratch, upgrade your computer skills, learn a newer version of software you already know, or you can simply take training on a specific function of an application, such as the Mail Merge function in Word. It’s up to you.

Just contact a member of our team to discuss the courses available or to book yourself in – and remember, it’s free!

What other benefits am I entitled to?

Guaranteed Minimum Hours

As a flexible employee, we guarantee that we will provide you with the opportunity to fulfil the equivalent of at least 1 day’s work per week in any continuous 12 month period of employment. That’s just the minimum!

Enhanced Annual Leave

Once you complete 2 year’s continuous service as our flexible employee, you will benefit from additional paid annual leave entitlement for each additional completed year.

Read more about Holiday Absence and Holiday Pay ››

Statutory Benefits

As a flexible employee you will be also be entitled statutory benefits including:-

Statutory notice: 1 additional week for each completed year of service up to a maximum of 12 weeks’ notice for 12 complete years of service.

Family Leave: including maternity, paternity and other leave granted under family-friendly employment legislation for which you fulfil the eligibility requirements.

Read more about Maternity and Paternity Pay and Leave ››

Pension Auto-Enrolment

What is Pensions Auto-Enrolment?

You may have heard about changes to pensions at work. Those changes mean that all employers are required to offer a workplace pension scheme.

Step Ahead will be enrolling workers into the NEST pension scheme.

You will be automatically-enrolled into the scheme if, after working for 12 weeks, you meet certain eligibility criteria relating to your working status, age and earnings.

Automatic enrolment is a legal requirement on us. So, if you meet the eligibility criteria, then you we must automatically enrol you at the relevant time.

When will Pensions Auto-Enrolment Start?

As Step Ahead will be applying the permitted postponement period, the earliest date on which we will commence automatic enrolment will be 1 November 2017.

If you are eligible on that date, we shall automatically enrol you on that date. We will otherwise automatically enrol you 3 months after you first become eligible.

However, our obligation to offer a workplace pension scheme commences from 1 August 2017 and you may request to join the scheme from that date, including if you do not meet the eligibility criteria for auto-enrolment but meet certain other criteria.

Will I be Auto-Enrolled?

You will automatically be enrolled, after the end of our postponement/waiting period, if you are an Eligible Jobholder.

Non-Eligible Jobholders and Entitled Workers may also join the scheme.

Note: If you work for us as a contractor through an umbrella company and taxed under PAYE, you will not be included in Step Ahead’s pension scheme. However, your umbrella company will have similar obligations towards you from their own staging date.   And, if you are genuinely self-employed, you will not be included in the new pension requirements at all.

Eligible Job-Holder

You’ll be automatically enrolled if, at the end of our 3 month postponement/waiting period, you are:

  • Aged between 22 and state pension age (under 75)
  • Working/ordinarily working in the UK
  • Earn qualifying earnings above the weekly earnings trigger (£192)

and Step Ahead will make an employer contribution in addition to your own contribution to your pension.

You will be entitled to opt out of the scheme within a certain period and receive a refund of your contributions through us. You may also leave the scheme at a later date (but will not be refunded contributions) if you chose to do so.

Non-Eligible Job-Holder / Entitled Worker

If you are not automatically enrolled, you can ask us to enrol you if you are:

  • Aged between 16 and 74
  • Working/ordinarily working in the UK

How can I join the NEST Workplace Pension Scheme if I am not Automatically Enrolled

You can elect to join the scheme after our 1 August 2017 staging date even if you have not been automatically enrolled so long as you meet the criteria of an eligible job-holder, non-eligible job-holder or entitled worker.

Eligible Job-Holder

If you are:

  • Aged between 22 and state pension age (under 75)
  • Working/ordinarily working in the UK
  • Earn qualifying earnings above the weekly earnings trigger (£192)

you can ask to join the scheme before the end of our 3 month postponement/waiting period (but no earlier than 1 August 2017) and Step Ahead will make an employer contribution in addition to your own contribution to your pension.

Having requested to enrol, you will still be entitled to opt out of the scheme within a certain period and receive a refund of your contributions through us. You may also leave the scheme at a later date (but will not be refunded contributions) if you chose to do so.

Non-Eligible Job-Holder

If you are:

  • Aged between 16 and 74
  • Working/ordinarily working in the UK
  • Earning above the weekly lower earnings limit but below the earnings trigger (£113-£192)

you will not be automatically enrolled but may ask to join the scheme. Step Ahead will make an employer contribution in addition to your own contribution to your pension.

Having requested to enrol, you will still be entitled to opt out of the scheme within a certain period and receive a refund of your contributions through us. You may also leave the scheme at a later date (but will not be refunded contributions) if you chose to do so.

Entitled Worker

You can also ask us to enrol you if you are:

  • Aged between 16 and 74
  • Working/ordinarily working in the UK
  • Earn at or below the weekly lower earnings limit (£113)

but in this case Step Ahead will not make an employer contribution in addition to your own pension contribution and you will not be entitled to opt-out or receive a refund of your contributions through Step Ahead, though you may leave the scheme at any time that you chose to do so.

When you’re a member of NEST you can make contributions directly to your retirement pot whenever you like.  These contributions can be no less than £10.  There’s no duty on us to make employer contributions.

If you want to become a member of NEST prior to auto-enrolment, you’ll need to let us know by contacting Jasmine Edwards in writing.  The letter must be signed by you or, if you are sending it electronically, it has to contain the phrase ‘I confirm I personally submitted this notice to join the NEST workplace pension scheme’.  The letter must be sent to the following postal or email address:

Jasmine Edwards, Assistant to Head of Corporate Support, Step Ahead, 3 Waterhouse Square, 138 Holborn, London, EC1N 2SW / Email: admin@stepahead.co.uk

What Pension Scheme Will I be Enrolled With?

Step Ahead has chosen NEST as the workplace pension scheme for its Flexible Employees.

NEST is a low-cost way to save money for your retirement, don’t use jargon and express what can seem confusing pensions information clearly and so that it is easy to understand.

When we enrol you, NEST will send you a membership pack direct and give you access to an online account. And if you supply NEST with your email address, they will send you news and information.

This helps keeps costs low so that more money is put towards your retirement pot.

You will be able to log into your online account whenever you want and see exactly what’s being paid into your retirement post. You can also use it to update your personal details, change how much you want to contribute or tell them when you want to take your money out.

What Contributions are Paid into my NEST Retirement Pot?

In most cases, contributions will come from you, from Step Ahead, and the government (through tax relief).

The minimum employee contribution starts low (at 1%) but will increase to 3% from April 2018 and 5% from April 2019.

As long as you qualify and NEST has your National Insurance number, then you will receive tax relief, currently 0.2% on your contribution. So of the initial 1% employee contribution, you will only actually pay 0.8%, for example, and the government provides the rest.

Step Ahead will also contribute 1% initially, 2% from April 2018 and 3% from April 2019.

What If I Do Not Want to be in a Pension Scheme?

Although we are legally required to automatically enrol eligible job holders, this doesn’t take away your right to choose.   In most cases you will be entitled to opt out of the scheme within a period of 1 month following enrolment and receive a refund of your contributions through Step Ahead. After the opt out period expires, you are still able to leave the scheme but will not receive any refund of your contributions through Step Ahead.

The entitlement to opt out and receive a refund of contributions will not apply if you were not automatically enrolled but elected to exercise an entitlement to join the scheme as an Entitled Worker earning at or below the weekly lower earnings limit (£109).   However, you will still be able to leave the scheme at any time of your choosing.

NEST will send you details of the scheme shortly after we notify them of your enrolment. This will include details of how you may opt out or later leave the scheme.   To opt out, it is a requirement that you contact NEST to obtain the relevant documentation. We are not able to supply this to you directly.

Please note that you will not be entitled to opt out without first being enrolled.  Please do not write and ask to opt out prior to being automatically enrol as it is our statutory duty to automatically enrol you if you are eligible so we can only refuse such requests.   You will have an opportunity to opt out and receive a full refund of any contributions, if you still wish to do so, for a period of time after you have been enrolled.

Please also note that, if you opt out, we are also legally required to automatically re-enroll you every 3 years, if you are still working for us and eligible for auto-enrolment).

What if I am a Limited Company Contractor, Working through an Umbrella Company or Self-Employed?

If you work for Step Ahead as a contractor through an umbrella company taxed under PAYE, you will not be included in Step Ahead’s pension scheme. However, your umbrella company will have similar obligations towards you from their own staging date.   You should contact your umbrella company directly to enquire.

If you are self-employed/single-person company, you will not be included in the new pension requirements at all.

Where Can I Find Out More?

You can find out more about workplace pensions and being a member of NEST by visiting their website at www.nestpensions.org.uk

You can also get general information on pensions and saving for later life from www.direct.gov.uk/workplacepension

Please contact a member of our team about the training and benefits available.

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