At present, only those earning over £10,000 per annum are eligible for auto-enrolment, leaving many women who work part time and other part-time workers left out.
The company, which provides pensions for 1.7m people, also wants all earnings to be pensionable, including the first £6,240.
In its submission to Government ahead of the Budget, the company says the time is right to “strengthen” auto-enrolment so it works for everyone, building on the success of the scheme in bringing millions of workers into the pensions fold.
NOW has three key recommendations for the Chancellor:
- On auto-enrolment, all earners should be auto-enrolled, not just those earning over £10,000. All earnings should be pensioned, including the first £6,240pa which are currently excluded. Now points out that three quarters of those who do not meet the £10,000 threshold requirement are women.
- On taxation the company wants the net pay anomaly fixed. This currently requires low earners in net pay schemes to pay up to another £64 from their pay packet to get the same pension as an equivalent person in a relief at source scheme.
- Steps to create awareness of the rapidly growing number of deferred, or non-contributory, members that auto-enrolment has created by bringing pensions to the more ‘transient’ sectors of the labour market where people move from job to job.
NOW says most of the disadvantage women experience in pensions occurs during their 20s and 30s as they combine looking after a young family with working part-time or a period out of the labour market. This has a greater effect than the gender pay gap, it says.
Adrian Boulding, director of Policy, NOW:Pensions said: “The introduction of auto-enrolment in 2012 has been a huge success bringing 10.2m more people into pension savings. Many of these people were previously overlooked by employers offering pension schemes.
“Now that we are nearly a year into the highest planned minimum contribution increase, we have seen the vast benefits of auto-enrolment.
“However, this is not enough – we must make auto-enrolment work for everyone. NOW:Pensions was set up to make pension saving fairer for all and to help everyone build a pension pot for the retirement that they deserve. All of these matters have a fiscal impact and we need HM Treasury’s help to deliver these improvements to the pensions landscape.”