The range of issues facing today's pensions and human resource professionals is daunting. Many problems involve two or more specialist areas such as employment, pensions, benefits and tax.
In such a time pressured and business critical field, clients need clear answers in plain English, delivered on time and within budget.
We have addressed this need with its innovative combined human resources solutions (CHRS) team which provides specialist advice on both employment and pension law - and the increasingly important and sometimes challenging crossover between the two - HR Law.
The only one of its kind in the UK, our expert practice of eight lawyers, led by partner Richard Lee and director Liz Wood, ensures clients - such as HRDs, FDs and pension managers - have the comprehensive and clear advice they need to develop and maintain a successful and motivated workforce within the business.
Experienced and capable in delivering high-end strategic advice, large-scale HR projects or day-to-day operational guidance, CHRS lawyers meet clients' HR legal needs in the most cost-effective and pragmatic way.
This is why increasing numbers of FTSE companies, private and public sector organisations, including W M Morrisons Supermarkets, Sanctuary Housing Association, Royal London, Cemex UK, AS Watson, Thorntons and Interserve have chosen CHRS as their trusted adviser for HRlegal matters.
The CHRS team can help you to:
- use our ALL ABOUT AGE initiative for "cradle to grave" workplace advice
- make changes to benefits and pension arrangements in a commercial and pragmatic way
- manage all things TUPE, including pensions
- make sure you're compliant with auto-enrolment duties - we're experts in workplace pension reform
- communicate workforce changes clearly and effectively, minimising the risk of successful challenge
- get to grips with the new flexibilities of defined contribution (money purchase) pension schemes
- maximise the value of your business through effective people & reward solutions
- handle and deliver a wide range of HR projects, including salary sacrifice, flexible benefits, multi-million pound pension re-structuring projects, succession planning, absence management and ill-health pensions
An ever-expanding area of law links pensions, employment and benefits. This is the future of HR legal services as businesses work with advisers who can cover on all aspects of HR law. Our unique specialism in this area gives clients all of their HR Law through a single adviser.
Our wide experience and depth of know how ensures that whatever the HR challenge, we are on hand to help. Because we are HR Lawyers skilled in pensions and employment law, you and your organisation will benefit from pragmatic and commercial solutions delivered on time and on budget, leaving you free to focus on managing your business and its employees.
Giving clients a competitive edge
- Working alongside all of the major HR and pensions/benefits consultants, we are at the forefront of developments in the HR legal arena.
- We help clients retain their competitive advantage by bringing them the latest developments in HR Law through regular legal updates and webinars.
- For example, we've been busy advising on the new flexible working rights and older workers; all of the new workplace saving flexibilities coming out of the March 2014 budget and we are running a series of webinars: ALL ABOUT AGE which cover the 'cradle to grave' of workplace advice.
How to handle auto-enrolment
We've been the legal advisers of choice for many businesses needing to successfully comply with their automatic-enrolment duties, ranging from some of the largest retailers in the UK to international airlines and industry leading master trust providers.
Our team worked with the HR, pensions and payroll teams at WM Morrisons Supermarkets plc to ensure the successful on-time introduction of a new auto-enrolment compliant cash balance scheme for 130,000 employees. This 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. Team experience, including a secondment at the DWP, gave the client clear advice as the legislation was unfolding.
Successfully launching NEST's customer website
The CHRS team were also the lead pensions advisors to the National Employment Savings Trust (NEST) as it established and developed a scheme that now boasts over a million members. CHRS lawyers responded flexibly to the client's demands, providing on-site boosts to the organisation's legal capability and helping to ensure a successful on-time launch.
As part of this, CHRS lawyers were on hand to ensure the successful launch of NEST's member, employer and advisor transactional websites. The team provided support for the website project as well as providing a wide range of additional pensions advice, supplementing the in-house resource at a crucial time in NEST's development.
Defined benefit projects
The team has advised numerous clients on all aspects of defined benefit pension projects, including cessation of benefit accrual, moving to CARE, capping pensionable salary, employment contract reviews, workforce consultation issues, trustee negotiation/liaison and member communication review.
Cessation of accrual and the switch from defined benefit to defined contribution pension provision can be one of the most emotive issues to face employers. Recent case law has focused attention on the risks of mismanaging this process.
CHRS lawyers have advised on numerous closure and cessation of accrual projects in both the public and private sector, ensuring employers comply with their employment and pensions obligations, communicate effectively with employees whilst meeting statutory consultation requirements and handling negotiations with trustees.