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TASIS England Case Study – Pension Salary Sacrifice Launch

TASIS England is a leading international independent school in Surrey that can be seen to live its Mission:

TASIS England nurtures intellectual curiosity and emboldens each learner to flourish as a principled, open-minded, and compassionate member of a global community.

The school provides a range of competitive employee benefits, including a defined contribution pension scheme with Royal London for both teaching and non-teaching staff. This scheme is set up on a tax relief at source basis, ensuring all employees receive basic rate tax relief directly.

The school was keen to enhance its basket of benefits to its employees, including the attractiveness of the pension benefit, and reached out to EBC to explore introducing pension salary sacrifice. This move would have the dual benefit of generating tax savings for the school but, more importantly, would create the opportunity for all employees to manage and boost their own pension savings at no extra cost.

EBC's Task

TASIS England sought guidance from EBC on the potential introduction of salary sacrifice for all its pension members. The primary objectives were to introduce this new contribution regime thoughtfully and in an appealing way to gain the members' support and approval, whilst allowing members the free choice as to whether to switch to salary sacrifice or not. The school welcomed EBC’s support with engaging with its employees over this new benefit and anticipated around 30-40% of them would opt in at the start.

Key additional targets:

  1. Assist the school in effectively communicating the change in pension contributions, ensuring all members were aware of the opportunity to make more tax-efficient contributions.
  2. Deliver the message personally to the members through a group presentation, clearly stating that the transition to salary sacrifice would be a voluntary option.
  3. Be available for 1-1 guidance sessions with pension scheme members, making the numerical benefits clear for each employee and offering support for higher rate taxpayers who might have unclaimed tax relief.
  4. Support the finance and payroll team during the transition.
  5. Ensure the transition was successful in terms of the number of participants.

The activities delivered included:

  1. Drafting letters for all pension members explaining their options and showing their personal tax and NIC savings.
  2. Sending a PDF salary sacrifice guide to all pension members.
  3. Delivering presentations to all pension members during a well-publicized day of activity, followed by distributing the presentation deck to all attendees.
  4. Holding 1-1 sessions for any employees needing personal guidance.
  5. Adding additional Teams-based 1-1 sessions for those who missed the event.
  6. Organizing an on-site catch-up 1-1 event to accommodate growing interest.
  7. Contacting the pension provider to ensure a salary sacrifice transition could occur in the April payroll run.
  8. Supporting the payroll team in managing the two cohorts in the next cycle of contributions.

Measuring Success

  1. High Adoption Rate: The number of employees opting for the salary sacrifice option far exceeded expectations, with over 65% of pension members choosing this new approach. The number continues to grow monthly as more staff acclimate to the option, including new hires.
  2. Payroll Team Empowerment: The payroll team at the school now has a much higher and positive profile in taking on the promotion, management and facilitation of the new regime, and has received heartfelt appreciation from their colleagues
  3. Increased Contributions: Employees who adopted the salary sacrifice option also took the opportunity to review their contributions, resulting in a 25% increase in total monthly contributions to the provider, driven by their NIC savings.
  4. Employer NIC Savings: The school initially predicted relatively low levels of employer NIC savings, but the savings now amount to £11,800 per month and continue to grow.
  5. Enhanced Engagement: With employees' attention captured, EBC highlighted other personal maintenance areas. As a result, the number of employees using the provider app increased by 30%, and the percentage of employees who completed a death nomination form rose from 17% to 90%, thanks to the commitment of the payroll team and a substantial paper-based "take action" campaign.
  6. Unexpected Tax Benefits: Many employees, particularly the school’s large population of staff from the USA, were unfamiliar with UK tax requirements and had not filed tax returns or claimed higher rate tax relief. Dozens needed to claim back higher rate tax relief from HMRC. EBC provided a template letter and worked with the payroll team to support retroactive claims. In one instance, an employee was able to claim back more than £20,000 in tax relief.

Ann Corfield, Executive Director of Finance and Operations / Bursar was pleased to report:

“We recently engaged The Employee Benefits Collective (EBC) to support TASIS England in implementing some changes to our employee pension offering.

The support along the way, delivery on the day and ongoing professionalism have been exactly what we hoped for. And we enjoyed working with the people in the EBC team.

We would happily recommend them to other independent schools with similar objectives"

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