Frequently asked questions

Find out more about Welplan's pensions and employee benefits here

About Welplan

Who is Welplan?

Welplan has been operating since 1960, and has been providing a workplace pension since 1988. 

Our pension scheme is open to all employers, holds the Master Trust Assurance Framework standard and has been accredited with the Pensions Quality Mark Ready status.

 

What is a Master Trust?

The Pensions Regulator defines a Master Trust as:

'an occupational trust-based pension scheme established by declaration of trust which is or has been promoted to provide benefits to members who are staff of employers which are not connected and where each employer group is not included in a separate section with its own trustees. For this purpose, employers are connected if they are part of the same group of companies (including partially owned subsidiaries and joint ventures).'

 

What is the Master Trust Assured Framework?

The Master Trust Assurance Framework (MAF) standard was developed by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW) in association with The Pensions Regulator. The standard helps employers and advisors identify schemes which uphold the highest standards of governance and administration.

Welplan Pensions gained the MAF standard in November 2015, one of only 7 UK schemes to do so. You can read more here

 

Who manages Welplan's investment funds?

All funds invested in a Welplan pension are managed by Legal and General, one of the largest investment fund managers in the UK. 

What pension fund choices are available through Welplan?

There are two main strategies available: Lifestyle and Freestyle. The one you choose will depend on how involved you'd like to be in the management of your fund. 

You can find out more about the strategies in our Investment Options Guide, which you can download from our Pensions Scheme Guides page. 

Automatic enrolment (AE) for employers

What is automatic enrolment?

All employers are now required by law to automatically enrol eligible jobholders into a workplace pension scheme and make contributions. For the first time, automatic enrolment has been set as the default, with the option for employees to opt-out. This means that businesses must have systems in place to automatically enrol all their eligible jobholders or for those who wish to opt in.

 

I am an employer. How do I find out my staging date?

You can check your staging date on The Pensions Regulator’s website. You will need to have your PAYE reference to hand.

You will also receive a confirmation letter from The Pensions Regulator.

 

How can I postpone my automatic enrolment date?

You have an obligation to write to employees to let them know you have postponed automatic enrolment within six weeks following the date from when they were originally entitled to be auto enrolled. Then, within five months following your staging date you will need to complete your declaration of compliance and let The Pensions Regulator know the last day of the postponement period(s). You cannot fully submit your declaration until the postponement period(s) has/have ended.

 

Can I bring forward my staging date?

Yes you can. This is especially useful if your company has multiple businesses with staging dates that you’d like to align.

To bring your staging date forward, you must notify The Pensions Regulator. Welplan can help advise on this.

 

What do I do after my staging date?

You have to complete your declaration of compliance with The Pensions Regulator, which you must do within five months of your staging date.

 

I am an employer. What are the stages of auto enrolment?

We have summarised the AE process in our video, available on the auto enrolment page in the employer section of our website.

 

Who do I have to auto enrol?

Employers have to enrol all eligible jobholders. For an explanation of who is eligible, see the diagram below.

Welplan Auto Enrolment eligibility requirements

 

What happens if I don’t comply with auto enrolment?

The Pensions Regulator can enforce fines and legal action if you fail to comply with AE legislation.

You can find out more here.

 

How long will it take to set up my pension scheme?

This depends on a few factors, including the size of your organisation. We recommend starting the process six months before your staging date, but we'll always do our best to help if you have less time available.

 

How do I join Welplan?

We'd love you to join us. You can sign up online using our online system.

If you'd prefer to talk to us about signing up as an employer, give one of our expert team a call on 0800 195 8080.

How do I manage my account online?

Once you're registered with Welplan Pensions (via online sign up or another method), we'll issue you with a username and password for our online management system.

The online system is accessed through the Welplan website. You can use this system to upload contribution files and assess your workforce.

What pension fund choices are available through Welplan Pensions?

You can find out more about our strategies in our Investment Options Guide, available on our Pensions Scheme Guides page.

What fees are employers charged?

Employers are not charged a set-up fee with Welplan Pensions. The only fee we charge is a small annual management charge, which is applied to an employee’s fund value.

 

Who is responsible for sending communications to my employees?

The employer is responsible for sending the initial letter to all employees before they are enrolled into a Welplan pension.

You have to write to employees if:

  • They will be auto enrolled
  • They have the option to join a scheme (non-eligible jobholders)
  • They don’t qualify for a pension scheme (entitled workers)
  • You have decided to postpone your staging date.

Welplan can help you through this process, template letters are available here.

Welplan will communicate with your employees once they have been enrolled.

 

What communications will Welplan send my employees?

Once enrolled, we will send employees a welcome letter to let them know that you have chosen Welplan Pensions to provide their pension. We will include all the forms they need.

 

What is a Declaration of Compliance?

Once you have reached your staging date, you need to let The Pensions Regulator (TPR) know what action you have taken. This declaration confirms that you are compliant with auto enrolment legislation.

You must have registered your compliance with TPR no later than five months after your staging date, otherwise you face penalties if you don’t.

You can find out more on The Pensions Regulator’s website.

 

Who do the new pension duties apply to?

The new legislation applies to any business that employs one or more people.

 

What does Defined Contribution mean?

The government’s pensions advice service, Pension Wise, defines it as:

“This can be a personal or workplace pension and is based on how much money has been paid into your pot. They’re sometimes known as ‘money purchase’ schemes.

When you take money from a defined contribution pension it comes from the money you (and if applicable your employer) saved into it over the years, plus any investment returns your money may have earned.

With defined contribution pensions, you can decide how you take your money out”.

 

What is a pay reference period (PRP)?

The Pensions Regulator has produced some guidance notes on PRPs.

 

Who manages Welplan's investment funds?

All funds invested in a Welplan pension are managed by Legal and General, one of the largest investment fund managers in the UK.

Automatic enrolment (AE) for employees

Why have I received a welcome letter from Welplan?

If you have received a welcome letter from us, it means that your employer has chosen Welplan to provide your workplace pension. Your welcome letter will contain all the details you need.

Your welcome letter should also include a key features guide to Welplan Pensions.

 

Can I opt out of my workplace pension?

Yes, please contact our team to request an opt-out form. If you complete this within one month of being auto-enrolled, you will receive a refund of your contributions.

If you opt-out after having been auto enrolled for more than one month, your future payments will stop but the contributions you have already paid in will remain invested until your specified target retirement age (TRA).

 

Can I opt back in to my workplace pension?

You can opt back in to your workplace pension, just let your employer know. They will let you know when you can next opt in to the scheme.

If you have opted out, your employer has a legal duty to assess you for re-enrolment approximately every three years following your employer's original staging date.

 

What is a Target Retirement Age (TRA)?

Members can choose to set a TRA (not before the age of 55) when they enrol in a Welplan pension. If you don’t give us a TRA, we will set it as the default State Pension Age, as set by the government.

 

How can I change my Target Retirement Age (TRA)?

Simply contact the pensions team on 0800 195 8080. Please have your account number, or National Insurance number, to hand.

 

What happens if I leave my employer?

This depends on whether your new employer supports Welplan Pensions.

If they do support the Welplan scheme:

  • They must confirm that you are eligible to re-join the scheme. The level of yours and your new employer’s contributions may change in line with your new contract of employment, and membership will be subject to any terms and conditions which apply to new entrants to the scheme at the time – not those that applied when you left the scheme

If they do not support the Welplan scheme:

  • You cannot continue as a contributing member of the scheme, so your options are:
    • your fund can remain invested until you retire or die (when benefits will be provided)
    • your fund can usually be transferred to another occupational pension scheme or personal pension policy.

You can find more details in the Scheme Membership Guide, available on our Pensions Scheme Guides page

 

What happens if I die?

If you die while you hold a fund in Welplan Pensions the value of the units in your fund will be paid as a lump sum. The Trustee has discretion in deciding who benefits from the payment of any lump sum on your death – this discretion allows death benefits to be paid tax free. While the Trustee has complete discretion in deciding who the lump sum will be paid to, your wishes will be taken into account and the Trustee will normally follow your wishes.

To ensure that the Trustee is aware of your wishes in the event of your death, please complete our Expression of Wish form and update the information regularly as circumstances change. You can download a form from our Key Forms page

What pension fund choices are available through Welplan Pensions?

There are two main strategies available: Lifestyle and Freestyle. The one you choose will depend on how involved you'd like to be in the management of your fund. 

You can find out more about the strategies available here. Our summary of charges document (available on this page) explains the different management charges.

How do I know how much I have in my pension pot?

Once you have completed one full tax year as a member of the pension scheme, you will receive a Statutory Money Purchase Illustration (SMPI) notice, telling you how much you have in your pension pot.

You don't have to wait for your SMPI though, you can call us at any time to find out how much you have in your pension pot. 

 

How do I transfer funds from an existing pension into my Welplan pension?

Many people like to have all their pension funds in one place, and we can help make that happen.

Welplan Pensions will normally take a transfer of funds from another pension scheme. We currently don’t make any charge for doing so. 

Before you make any decisions, we recommend speaking to an independent financial adviser. 

 

Can I make additional contributions to my pension?

On top of your monthly or weekly contributions, from time to time you may wish to make additional contributions to your pension. You can do that at any time.

AVCs don’t have to be fixed, they can vary from time to time and you may make one-off payments. 

You can find more information in our Guide to AVCs.

To make an AVC you will need to complete our AVC form, found in the AVC guide available here, and pass it to your employer

 

Can I change my contribution amount?

Yes. Just contact your employer to let them know, they will give you the necessary forms to complete.

 

When are my pension contributions deducted?

Your contributions are deducted from your salary, before any adjustments (for example income tax or National Insurance) are made. The date on which your pension contributions are taken will depend on when you are normally paid.

 

Are contributions net or gross?

Contributions are deducted from gross pay. That means they're taken before any deductions (for example income tax or National Insurance) are made.

 

What fees are members charged?

The only fee we charge members is a small annual management charge (AMC), which includes investment management charges.

  • For the majority of our members who are invested in the scheme’s default Lifestyle investment option, this charge is 0.6%
  • For members who invest using the scheme’s Freestyle investment option, AMC varies by fund type.

Full details can be found in the Welplan Pensions scheme charging structure.

 

What does Defined Contribution mean?

The government’s pensions advice service, Pensions Wise, defines it as:

“This can be a personal or workplace pension and is based on how much money has been paid into your pot. They’re sometimes known as ‘money purchase’ schemes.

When you take money from a defined contribution pension it comes from the money you (and if applicable your employer) saved into it over the years, plus any investment returns your money may have earned.

With defined contribution pensions, you can decide how you take your money out”.

Who manages Welplan's investment funds?

All funds invested in a Welplan pension are managed by Legal and General, one of the largest investment fund managers in the UK. 

 

What are my options at retirement?

When you reach 55, you have a number of choices available to you. These are explained here

Where can I get free, impartial pensions advice? 

You can contact Pensions Wise, a free impartial government service that can give you advice over the phone or face to face. 

Pensions Regulation

What is The Pensions Regulator (TPR)?

TPR states this on its website:

The Pensions Regulator is the UK regulator of work-based pension schemes. We work with trustees, employers, pension specialists and business advisers, giving guidance on what is expected of them.

We also have functions under legislation passed in 2008 and a statutory objective to maximise compliance with the employer duties under that legislation relating to automatic enrolment.

 

What Welplan Pensions information will I need for the Pensions Regulator?

Type of pension scheme: Occupational Pension Scheme.

HMRC Pension Scheme Tax Reference: 00068714RB

Pension Scheme Registry Number: 10169717

Employer Pension Scheme Reference Number (given to all employers by Welplan).

Trustee and Administrator of Welplan Pensions:

Welplan Ltd

Old Mansion House

Eamont Bridge

Penrith

Cumbria

CA10 2BX.

You can find this information on our downloadable info sheet

Where can I get free, impartial pensions advice? 

You can contact Pensions Wise, a free impartial government service that can give you advice over the phone or face to face. 

Fees and contributions

Can an employee change their contribution amount?

Yes. They will need to contact you as their employer, feel free to contact us if you need any more help. 

 

Are contributions net or gross?

Contributions are deducted from gross pay.

 

What fees are employers charged?

Employers are not charged a set-up fee with Welplan Pensions.

 

What fees are members charged?

The only fee we charge members is a small annual management charge (AMC), which includes investment management charges.

  • For the majority of our members who are invested in the scheme’s default Lifestyle investment option, this charge is 0.6%
  • For members who invest using the scheme’s Freestyle investment option, AMC varies by fund type.

Full details can be found in the Welplan Pensions scheme charging structure.

 

Employee benefits: employer

Why should I consider providing extra benefits for my employees?

Employers tell us that their employees feel more valued when they're offered extra benefits. Not only can they improve morale, but they can increase staff retention rates too. 

As an employer, you'll want to protect your income too. Our sickness and accident benefit both cover you 52 weeks of the year, maintaining an income stream for you whilst looking after your employees' interests. 

 

Why should I choose Welplan to provide my employee benefits?

All benefits provided by Welplan are completely flexible, so employers can choose the best package for them. We have a team of experts on hand to help, and our private medical insurance is arranged through a large group scheme with Bupa, centralising the administration and reducing the cost. 

 

How much will it cost me to provide employee benefits?

Our benefits packages are completely bespoke to you, so the best thing to do is contact us for a personalised illustration. To help you budget more confidently, you can set monthly spend limits. 

I don't use Welplan to provide my pension scheme. Can I still use you for my employee benefits?

Yes. Our employee benefits are completely flexible and are open to all, you don't have to use Welplan to provide your workplace pension.

How can I sign up to Welplan's employee benefits?

Because our benefits packages are unique to each employer, we recommend you contact us for a personalised illustration. If you're happy, we can then get you signed up straight away.

Employee benefits: employee

How do I find out what benefits are available to me?

With our benefits packages, one size doesn't fit all. The best person to ask is your employer to find out what benefits you're entitle to. You might receive a letter or see posters appear around your workplace. You can find out more about specific benefits in our employee benefits section. 

 

How do I find out what I'm covered for?

If you've been signed up for any of our benefits, you will receive a welcome letter or membership certificate along with key documents guidance. 

Welplan online

What is Welplan's online system?

Welplan Pensions' online system allows employers to sign up, register employees, and upload and submit contribution files. 

Employers using the online system must already be registered with Welplan Pensions, which you can do online or via our helpdesk on 0800 195 8080. 

 

What can I do with Welplan's online system?

At the moment, employers can sign up, manage their company (or companies), provide workforce assessments and upload contribution files. We're continuing to add more to our online functionality. 

 

How do I login to the online system?

When you enrol with Welplan Pensions, we'll give you a username and password. Simply login via the link at the top of the homepage on the Welplan website. 

 

How do I submit my contributions through Welplan online?

It's really easy to do and we'll help you every step of the way. You can find step by step guidance in our user guides.