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Aon cuts standard contribution rate to its employees' pension scheme

Aon Consulting has lowered its standard pension contributions by as much as 50% for some staff to lower costs and achieve greater efficiencies.

Employees aged 50 or older previously received an employer contribution of 12% of their salary if they contributed 2%, but under the new proposals the standard employer contribution is to be set at 6% for all staff.

But if employees contribute more than the standard 2%, Aon will match their additional contributions.

Peter Harmer, CEO of Aon UK, said: "Our proposal involves moving to a lower standard employer contribution, but supporting this with an offer to match contributions up to a certain level, depending on an employee's age group. Put simply, the more an employee contributes, the more Aon will match it, up to specified levels.

"This approach recognises employees want to retain their pay and allows them to make choices. By offering a lower standard contribution while offering matched contributions, we are seeking to reduce fixed costs while saying to employees who regard saving into a pension as a priority: ‘If your retirement provision is important to you and you are prepared to invest in it, then we will back you and invest in it too'."

But the TUC has reacted harshly to the proposal. Its general secretary Brendan Barber said: "This is a triple pensions whammy. Staff first lost their salary-related scheme, next they saw their pension pots fall as shares crashed and now they face what is in effect a choice between a salary cut or a further pension cut.

"The worry is that other employers will take advantage of the ease in which defined-contribution pension schemes can be cut."