Do employers have to pay pension contributions for furloughed employees?

Yes, employers must pay employer pension contributions for furloughed employees. The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme does not change an employer's obligations under its pension scheme. A reduction in contributions may not be possible without a change to the scheme rules. If the employer has a contractual obligation to pay more than the minimum automatic enrolment employer contributions, it will need to obtain the employee's agreement to any reduction. Employers with 50 or more employees have a duty to consult employees for at least 60 days before reducing pension contributions.

Employers can make a claim to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) under the scheme to recover a percentage of the wage costs of furloughed employees, but they cannot claim for pension contributions under the scheme. (Pension contributions could be included in a claim prior to 1 August 2020.)