400,000 mums now locked out of workplace pension schemes due to Covid03/19/2021
AROUND 400,000 single mums are now locked out of a workplace pension scheme due to the pandemic, according to research.
Bosses have had to automatically enrol staff into pension schemes since October 2012 to get workers saving for their golden years.
However, you must earn at least £10,000 per year from a single employer to be automatically enrolled onto the scheme.
Anyone earning less than this can ask to put onto a scheme, but only those who earn more than £6,240 will benefit from the top-ups.
New research by NOW: Pension has found that 100,000 more mums have been locked out of the schemes since the start of the pandemic last March.
It means 43% of single mums are now cut off from important pension support, compared to 31% a year ago.
How to boost your retirement pot
DON’T know where to start? Here are some tips on how to get going.
- Understand where you start: Before you consider your plans for tomorrow, you'll need to understand where you stand today. Look into your current pension savings and research when you’ll be eligible for the state pension, and how much support you’ll receive.
- Make the most of your workplace pension: All employers are legally required to provide a workplace pension. If you save, your employer will usually have to contribute too. If you earn below the threshold, it's worth asking your employer if it'll contribute anyway.
- Take advantage of online planning tools: Financial providers Aviva and Royal London have tools that give you an idea of what your retirement income will be based on how much you're saving.
- Make sure you don't miss out on tax relief: It's also important for workers to make sure they're not missing out on tax relief. This means you're not paying income tax on whatever you pay into your pension. If you are a low earner on less than the £12,500 personal tax allowance, you won't get tax relief applied automatically.
- Find out if your workplace offers advice: Many employers offer sessions with financial advisers to help you plan for your future retirement.
It comes as recent lockdowns have made it harder for single mums to work as they juggle homeschooling and household chores on their own.
It's led to an average fall in income of £1,400, according to the research.
It comes as a survey by the Trade Union Congress (TUC) found that 18% of mums have been forced to reduce their working hours for the same reason.
While around 7% were taking unpaid leave from work and receiving no income at all.
Earlier this month, the pensions minister confirmed that all workers will be automatically enrolled into a scheme by the mid-2020s.
In the meantime, we've rounded up ways to boost your pension savings above.
NOW: Pension is calling on the government to axe the £10,000 auto-enrolment threshold and ensure contributions are taken from the first £1 of earnings.
Samantha Gould, head of campaigns at NOW: Pension, said: "It is worrying to see that single mothers' ability to save for their futures has been hugely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic."
"After what has been a difficult year with women bearing the brunt when it comes to being furloughed and taking on the bulk of childcare responsibilities it is really troubling that even more single mothers have been locked out of pension saving during a time when finances have already been hit."
Research has found that around 2.5million workers are missing out on employer top-ups because they don't earn enough to qualify.
Meanwhile, a pension fee shake-up is set to make it cheaper for hundreds of thousands of auto-enrolment savers.
Young women today will typically need to work nearly 40 years longer than men to get the same pension pots, calculations reveal.
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