The news from Mumbai, India, that several hundred seafarers at ports across the country are on a hunger strike, in protest over their low wages and lack of pension provision, puts things into perspective for us here in the UK, in terms of pensions.
However, whilst the introduction of auto-enrolment regulations, meaning all employers must offer their employees some sort of pension provision, is a step in the right direction, the minimum contribution levels are far lower than those needed to provide an adequate pension at retirement.
There has been much publicity over what constitutes an ‘adequate’ pension, and whilst opinions vary across the industry, there is one constant – “the current auto-enrolment minimum contributions of 5% of earnings, are not enough.”
Many employers however do go that extra mile, and offer their employees the opportunity to build up a pension during their working life that will enable them to enjoy a comfortable retirement. Such employers realise that to retain their employees, and recruit the best talent, they need to offer them a benefits package that includes good pension provision. They also understand the true cost of attrition, using pensions as a way of keeping their key staff.
And employers find that this commitment to their employees is reciprocated – we know from our recent surveys into pension provision in the maritime industry that employees place pension provision higher than employers may think, with over 96% of employees ranking pensions as “very” or “quite” important as part of their overall benefits package, and the third most important factor in choosing or staying with an employer.
Many of these ethical and forward-thinking employers use Ensign for their pension provision, the only dedicated pension scheme for the maritime industry. With a minimum contribution level of 10%, and some of the lowest member charges in the industry, these employers want to give their employees the opportunity to build up a decent pension during their working life, so they can enjoy a comfortable retirement.
So, whilst providing any sort of pension provision is a step-up from the story of the tragic seafarers in India, unless this provision gives employees the opportunity to build up an adequate pension pot, their retirement will either have to be delayed, or they will quickly find themselves in financial hardship.
Contact Ensign to find out how the maritime industry’s only dedicated pension scheme can help.