Dealing with Pension Queries and Difficulties

A pension is a tax-efficient way of saving your money now ready for your retirement. If you’ve had any previous jobs before becoming a Personal Assistant (PA) you may already be enrolled into one or more pension schemes from other employment(s).

There are three main types of pension schemes: Workplace pensions, personal pensions and state pensions.

Workplace pensions

A workplace pension is a way of saving for your retirement that’s arranged by your employer.

Some workplace pensions are called ‘occupational’, ‘works’, ‘company’ or ‘work-based’ pensions.

Please see the resource below on ‘Workplace pensions’ to find out if you qualify to be automatically enrolled into a workplace pension.

The Pension Regulator: Workplace pensions

The Pensions Regulator (TPR) is the UK regulator of workplace pension schemes.

They make sure that employers put their staff into a pension scheme and pay money into it. They also make sure that workplace pension schemes are run properly so that people can save safely for their later years.

Under the Pensions Act 2008, every employer in the UK must put certain staff into a workplace pension scheme and contribute towards it. This is called ‘automatic enrolment’. If you employ at least one person you are an employer and you have certain legal duties.

To get in touch with the Pensions Regulator see further details in resources below.

Personal pension

UK Government Personal Pension information

You can find a range of information on personal pensions from the UK Government’s website in the resources below.

State pension

You can find further details on the basic State Pension and the new State Pension from the UK Government’s website in the resources below. This covers areas such as:

  • Eligibility
  • How much the State Pension currently is
  • How to claim for your State Pension
  • How you can check your State Pension forecast

Dealing with pension queries and difficulties

Further information and support is available through the following organisations:

Pension Wise

Pension Wise is a government service from MoneyHelper that offers free, impartial pensions guidance about people’s defined contribution pension options.

An appointment with Pension Wise is free and will help people understand what their overall financial situation will be when they retire.

It’ll talk people through their options to help them make the right decision. People will also find out about the other factors they need to consider when deciding on their options before retirement. To get in touch with Pension Wise, see their contact details below in resources.

The Pensions Ombudsman

The Pensions Ombudsman are an independent organisation set up by law to deal with pension complaints. They look at the facts without taking sides and their service is free.

People can check on their website to see if they can help you with a complaint or dispute about a pension scheme provided by your employer or a pension you have set up yourself (see details in resources below).

They can also help if you have a complaint about a decision made by the Pension Protection Fund or the Financial Assistance Scheme.

Before The Pensions Ombudsman will investigate a complaint, you must have first tried to resolve matters with the party or parties you think are at fault. You can see their Factsheet ‘Complaining to the party/parties at fault’ below.

The Pension Ombudsman also operates an Early Resolution Service (ERS) (contact details in the resources below), which provides an informal and streamlined approach to dispute resolution. This relies on the willingness of all parties to resolve a complaint informally and is run on the basis of consent and cooperation.

Next steps

Speak to your employer if you think you qualify to be automatically enrolled into a workplace pension.

Take a look at the resources below to help guide you in more detail on what pension(s) are right for you, including where to get advice, and who to contact if you need to make a complaint.

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Last Updated
15 July 2022
First Published
15 July 2022
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Resources

PA Induction

An induction is where you learn about your job, like where to find things you will need and what is expected of you. It usually happens when you first start in your new role. See what can be covered in an Induction process and what to expect when starting a new role as a PA.

Training and Support for PAs

Some PA roles require training but every role is different. Sometimes that training must be done, for example to prevent injury if your employer needs help with moving, and in these cases your employer is responsible for ensuring you do it.

Risk Assessments for PAs

Risk Assessments are designed to protect health and safety in the workplace and prevent injury or risk of injury to PAs and the person they provide assistance to.

ID Badges for PAs

The PA Network Scotland offers ID badges, approved by the Scottish Government, to all registered PAs, in order to provide them with a recognisable form of ID.

The Open Badges Scheme for PAs

Open Badges are free digital certificates that support ongoing learning and evidence of professional development in your role as a PA. PAs can earn Open Badges from the Scottish Social Services Council (SSSC) and many other social service organisations when they complete a course and pass the assessment.

Independent SDS Information and Support Services

Organisations that PAs can go to for additional information, advice and support on a range of issues

General Employment Information and Support

There are a number of UK wide organisations that provide information and advice on employment matters.

Employment Legal Advice

Sometimes when you think you've been treated unfairly, the good legal advice is important. You should always try to resolve an issue in the workplace if you can, and support networks can help. When this process fails you may need to find employment legal advice.

Advocacy Services

Advocacy is a way to help people have a stronger voice when talking about their needs so they can have as much control as possible over their own lives. Independent advocates don't work for the council and put your needs first and details on how to find one near you are here.

Mediation

Mediation is a voluntary process led by an impartial third party to help reach an agreement on a dispute in the workplace.

Trade Union Membership

Trade unions are groups of employees who join together to protect and improve their working conditions. A membership subscription will be payable to join.

Payroll Services in Scotland

Employing a PA brings with it certain legal and financial responsibilities. Therefore, PA employers may use a payroll service to help them, for example, calculate how much tax and National Insurance their PAs should pay.

Where to Look for PA Job Ads

Find out more here about where to look PA vacancies.

Job Interview Tips

Hints and Tips on how to prepare for an interview.

Help with Moving from Benefits to Starting Work

How a Job Centre Plus work coach can support you to move from benefits into paid employment when you start work.

Being Employed as a PA by a Family Member

It is possible for a PA to be employed by a family member to provide care and support to them. However, this is still seen as an 'exceptional circumstance', which means it wouldn't normally happen unless it is for specific reasons.

Your Rights as a Carer when Working

Knowing your rights as a carer when you are employed

Can I be a Carer as well as a PA?

You may be working as a Personal Assistant and also have a caring role in your life. It could be important to know if you are a carer as you might be able to access further support for yourself or for the person you care for.

Dealing with Pension Queries and Difficulties