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TUC: 3m part-time women workers excluded from workplace pensions

A TUC report published recently (Monday) has found that as many as three million part-time women workers are excluded from workplace pensions.

The report Unfinished Business: Building a fresh consensus on workplace pensions, finds from analysis of official data that 4.6 million UK workers earn less than £10,000, which is the trigger for automatic enrolment into a pension.

Of these, 3.4 million are women.

More than half (57%) of part-time workers earn less than £10,000 and by being excluded from automatic enrolment miss out on the employer contributions received by colleagues.

Workers whose earnings from multiple jobs total more than £10,000 also miss out on automatic enrolment.

The TUC is calling for the government to use a planned review of automatic enrolment, which is due to report in 2017, to set out a roadmap for long-term development of workplace pensions.

The TUC says the roadmap should set out how more low-paid workers are to be brought into workplace pensions and contributions raised to a level that gives workers a good chance of a decent income in retirement.

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said: “Automatic enrolment has been a great success, giving six million more people access to a workplace pension.

“But millions of women workers are still missing out. We need to remove the barrier of the earnings trigger so that the millions of workers in part-time work, including those holding down multiple jobs, are automatically enrolled onto workplace pensions too.

“Too many people are only receiving the legal minimum pension contributions. We need a clear plan to increase the money going into pensions to give workers a good chance of a decent retirement.”


  1. A full copy of the TUC report Unfinished Business: Building a fresh consensus on workplace pensions can be found at:www.tuc.org.uk/sites/default/files/Unfinishedbusiness.pdf
  2. The TUC argues that the government’s review of automatic enrolment should start with an adequacy modelling exercise setting out the retirement income and replacement ratios that current workers are likely to achieve given (1) the introduction of the new state pension, (2) the evolution of the labour market, and (3) current auto-enrolment contribution levels.
    This would inform the necessary roadmap for ensuring auto-enrolment reaches its potential to become the centrepiece of most workers’ retirement planning.
    To help in this process, the TUC sets out a number of policy options for improving auto-enrolment that, either in isolation or in combination, could improve savings for low and middle earners. These include:
  • abolition of the earnings trigger
  • reform of the system of band earnings
  • auto-escalation by pay increase
  • a flat-rate element to provide particular support to low-paid workers.
  1. All TUC press releases can be found at www.tuc.org.uk
  2. Follow the TUC on Twitter: @The_TUC and follow the TUC press team @tucnews


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