If you saw a giant multi-coloured monster on your TV screens during an ad break between Coronation Street and Emmerdale last week, we can officially confirm that you weren’t seeing things. Nor had you had one too many glasses of wine and nor were you even seeing the promotional material of a brand which had got slightly too excited for Halloween. What you were watching was in fact, the brand new face of workplace pensions.
‘Workie’ as he has been so aptly named made his television debut on ITV last week in an advert that shows him visiting a variety of different workplaces. When he gets to these places, he is rudely ignored by people who are too busy with their everyday lives to take any notice of him. So as you’ve probably gathered by now, the whole idea behind the multi-million pound marketing campaign is to encourage workers to pay more attention to the workplace pension scheme and make small business employers more aware of their obligations.
The next phase of auto-enrolment is coming
The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) is using this huge fuzzy monster with big friendly eyes and a cute little smile to represent “a striking physical embodiment of the workplace pension”. A whopping £8.54m has been spent on making sure that Workie sees a change in the “country’s perception of pensions in the workplace”, which comes just as the next phase of auto-enrolment is about to commence.
Auto-enrolment was first launched in 2012 and now means employers are obliged to automatically enrol all eligible employers onto a workplace pension scheme. So as long as you are over the ages of 22 and are earning more than £10,000 a year, you should be automatically set up with a pension provision that your employer pays into. However, DWP aren’t convinced that this message is fully registering so has factored in the help of Workie to hopefully encourage people not to shy away from workplace schemes anymore.
Beyond the fun lies a serious message
Pensions minister, Ros Altmann who was personally involve in the whole process commented on her brand new psychedelic co-creation and said: “This is a fun and quirky campaign but behind it lies a very serious message. We need everyone to know that they are entitled to a workplace pension – and we need all employers to understand their legal responsibility to their staff, but also to feel more positive about engaging with workplace pensions.”
Slightly far-fetched but undeniably attention-grabbing, maybe Workie and his warm fuzzy embrace is exactly what it’s going to take to make people pay more attention to pensions. The whole auto-enrolment process is expected to reach completion by the close of 2018, by which time around nine million workers are set to be enrolled on a workplace pension. With Workie’s help, the government hope to smash their target!
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