The draft Occupational and Personal Pension Schemes (Consultation by Employers and Miscellaneous Amendment) Regulations 2006 (Draft) have been laid before Parliament. The Regulations require employers to consult employees who are pension scheme members prior to making a listed change to an occupational or personal pension scheme. Listed changes are set out in the draft Regulations and include increasing member contributions and actions preventing new members from joining the scheme.
The Regulations detail the information that must be provided by the employer to the employee representatives prior to consultation on the change. The information required includes the proposed change together with background information and details of when the change will be implemented.
Where there is agreement under the Information and Consultation of Employees Regulations 2004 or a recognised Union that applies to the affected employees then the employer may consult in accordance with these arrangements. If there is no ICE agreement or recognised Union the draft regulations set out what steps the employer must take to consult employees. Notably, there is no duty to consult "with a view to reaching agreement" and the employer's duty is to consult "in a spirit of cooperation, taking into account the interests of both sides."