A recent Citizens Advice report has highlighted the problem of people working in multiple jobs and failing to qualify for auto-enrolment despite earning over £10,000 a year in total.
Women are more likely than men to miss out on having an auto-enrolled workplace pension, due to the higher likelihood of holding more than one job than men. This affects around 72,000 women in the UK but far fewer men. According to Citizens Advice chief executive, Gillian Guy, the reason for this discrepancy could be women working at several part-time jobs, which helps them manage commitments like childcare or study.
In addition to possibly missing out altogether on workplace pensions, women may also receive less, according to a study by Zurich. On average, women receive contributions worth 7% of salary, while men get 7.8%. Researchers said this was due to men having a tendency to work in sectors with more established and generous schemes.
Insurance firm Aegon has suggested a number of measures to counteract this problem, including freezing the £10,000 earnings trigger so that more workers are brought into schemes, gradually removing the band of earnings on which contributions need not be paid and providing a good government bonus that, as a condition of auto-enrolment, employers must pass on to non-taxpayers.
While auto-enrolment is intended to help employees build up their pensions savings, multiple job holders and those working part-time can’t rely solely on a workplace pension.