Liz Wood helps clients to manage employment and pensions law issues - and the difficult crossover areas between the two. She is one of the lawyers in the firm's unique Combined Human Resources Solutions team; specialist lawyers who can simultaneously give employment and pensions law advice.
Her bread and butter work involves assisting employer clients to:
- make changes to their benefits and pension offerings with the minimum level of fuss
- help them manage their obligations on business sales and outsourcings, particularly in relation to the impact of TUPE
- negotiate TUPE clauses in outsourcing/insourcing and commercial agreements using a protective (for the client) yet pragmatic approach
- assist with the effective and clear communication of changes to their workforce (including managing consultation and contractual change)
- avoid discrimination issues by offering practical, commercial advice
- understand the brave new world of defined contribution pension schemes. This extends to employer duties, automatic enrolment, DC governance and new reforms in this area.
Liz is also an advisor to a number of trustee clients in relation to their occupational pension schemes, including the management of scheme liabilities, scheme governance and general assistance for trustees in finding their way through the veritable minefield of pensions law affecting trustees.
Large scale consultation and restructuring projects are always a highlight for Liz.
Otherwise, anything which allows her to get her teeth stuck into complex pensions and employment issues which have the potential to ruffle feathers and cause employee or trade union discontent without our help. she sees our role as helping employers and trustees find a clear route through the morass of legislation, case law, codes of practice and guidance in both the worlds of pensions and employment law.
Advising a top five supermarket on implementation of its introduction of automatic enrolment. This affected some 135,000 employees and involved a new pension scheme being set up, along with a ground-breaking communication exercise encouraging the workforce to understand more about financial planning and saving for retirement. Liz project managed our advice, which involved 12 lawyers from across the firm and kept her very busy during 2012.
Advising a manufacturing client on a post merger streamlining of its pension provision. The client benefited from Liz's ability to advise on both the employment and pensions law aspects of the exercise. This involved a pensions consultation, consideration of the TUPE/pensions requirements and careful communication of the changes with the affected employees.
Helping a retail client to introduce a salary sacrifice arrangement for its pension scheme. The client needed particular help in understanding its duties in relation to potential discrimination issues in relation to salary sacrifice.
Assisting a brewing client with the closure of its three defined benefit pension schemes in order to help it better manage its ongoing pension liabilities – the work involved selling the advantages of scheme closure to the trustees, the trade union and employee representatives.
Advising a large not for profit sector employer on the best practice and approach for best incentivising its senior and longstanding executive team without falling foul of age discrimination legislation.
Helping a major housing association on the employment and pensions issues arising on various mergers with other small housing associations – including managing TUPE transfers, pension scheme liabilities and effective communications with employees.
Regular corporate support advice on TUPE matters, with particular experience of advising on Beckmann/Martin liabilities.
Advising trustee clients on the impact of the Marriage (Same Sex) Couples Act 2013, including guidance notes and drafting amending deeds.