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Employees have to be told when they join, or are considering joining, an occupational pension scheme how the employers contributions are determined and how the members contributions are calculated. In addition, members of defined contribution schemeswhere the amount of money paid in is intrinsically related to the size of the pension they will get outhave to be told, on an annual basis, the amount of contributions credited to them in the previous year. Members of defined benefit schemes which are subject to the statutory funding requirements can request information on the schedule of contributions that the employer has agreed to pay.
We feel that this level of information is satisfactory. We must be mindful of the burden on employers of having to re-cast their pay statements unless there is compelling evidence that harm would result from the absence of such a requirement. This may slightly disappoint the noble Lord, but I hope that he accepts the extent to which the basic issue he is pursuing is genuinely covered and feels able to withdraw the amendment.
Lord Skelmersdale: My Lords, I am grateful for the comments of the noble Lord, Lord Oakeshott, and
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As for the Employment Rights Act 1996, by law the Minister is quite right. You have to have net and gross income put on the monthly, or even weekly, pay sheet. You have to put the deductions, first for tax and, secondly, for national insurance but, as far as I know, for no other purpose. If I am right, there is a very good reason for putting pension contributions on the pay sheet. I will not pursue the argument tonight. However, I would like to talk privately, perhaps to one of the Ministers advisers, about this, as transparency on a weekly or monthly basis is very important. It will help to achieve what we are all trying to do, which is to set up a sensible pension scheme, especially for the lower paid.
Lord McKenzie of Luton: My Lords, before the noble Lord sits down, I understand fully the thrust of where he is coming from. I very much take the point that we should fix a meeting outside the Chamber to see precisely where we are. If we need to do anything different to meet the noble Lords objectives, we will try to do so.
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