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The Occupational Pension Schemes (Contracting-out) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 1996

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Special provision for holding companies and subsidiaries

12.—(1) This regulation applies to cases where—

(a)earners employed in employment under different employers qualify by virtue of their respective service in those employments for the benefits of the same scheme, and

(b)each of the employers in the scheme is either—

(i)one of a group of companies consisting of a holding company and one or more subsidiaries;

(ii)one of a group of employers who are associated employers within the meaning of section 590A(3) and (4) of the Taxes Act(1), or

(iii)one of a group of employers who are associated by a common interest.

(2) In this regulation—

(a)“associated by a common interest” means employers who share either management, shareholders, employees or business operations in common;

(b)“holding company” means a body corporate which is either—

(i)a holding company within the meaning of Article 4 of the Companies (Northern Ireland) Order 1986(2);

(ii)an employer who controls an associated employer within the meaning of section 590A(3) and (4) of the Taxes Act, or

(iii)an employer who is the principal employer for the purposes of the scheme in accordance with the scheme rules or the employer who has power to act on behalf of all employers in the scheme in relation to the scheme rules;

(c)“subsidiary” means an employer in the scheme who is either—

(i)a subsidiary within the meaning of Article 4 of the Companies (Northern Ireland) Order 1986;

(ii)an employer controlled by an associated employer within the meaning of section 590A(3) and (4) of the Taxes Act, or

(iii)an employer subject to the rules of the scheme.

(3) In a case to which this regulation applies, any notice which is required or authorised to be given under these Regulations shall, subject to paragraph (4), be treated as properly given if given by the holding company on behalf of any of its subsidiaries, and where this is done the holding company shall, subject to paragraphs (4) and (5), be treated as the employer of the earners for the purposes of sections 3(1)(a), (2) and (7), 7 and 30(1)(a), (2) and (8) of the Act(3) and of any regulations made thereunder.

(4) The duty of an employer to undertake the consultations mentioned in regulations 3(2)(f)(iii), 4, 9(5)(e)(iii) and (6) shall be carried out by each subsidiary in respect of the earners employed by it, unless all the independent trade unions recognised in relation to those earners have signified in writing to the holding company that they agree that those consultations may be conducted on the subsidiary’s behalf by the holding company.

(5) The Department may refuse to give effect to an election made by a holding company if it is not satisfied either that each subsidiary has undertaken those consultations in respect of the earners employed by the holding company, or that the holding company has undertaken them with the agreement of those trade unions.


Section 590A was inserted by paragraph 4 of Schedule 6 to the Finance Act 1989 (c. 26). See also paragraph 18(2) of Schedule 6 to that Act


S.I. 1986/1032 (N.I. 6); Article 4 was substituted by Article 62(1) of the Companies (No. 2) (Northern Ireland) Order 1990 (S.I. 1990/1504 (N.I. 10))


Section 3(1) was amended by paragraph 15(a) of Schedule 3 to the Pensions (Northern Ireland) Order 1995 and section 30(1)(a) and (2) was amended by paragraphs 14 and 30 of that Schedule

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