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

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Making of elections by employers for the variation or surrender of contracting-out certificates

9.—(1) Subject to the provisions of paragraphs (2) and (3) and regulation 10, an election with a view to the variation or surrender of a contracting-out certificate may only be made—

(a)after notices of intention to make such an election have been given by the employer in accordance with paragraphs (4) and (5), and

(b)within the period after the expiry of those notices which is specified in paragraph (7),

and shall be made in writing to the Department.

(2) Where a proposed variation is a change—

(a)in the name of the employer;

(b)in the address of the employer, or

(c)in the name of the scheme,

an election with a view to the variation of a certificate shall be made in writing to the Department within 3 months of the event to which the election relates or such longer period as the Department may in its discretion allow and may be made without compliance with paragraphs (1) and (4) to (7).

(3) In addition to the cases described in paragraph (2), in such cases as the Department may approve, where a proposed variation would not alter—

(a)the categories or descriptions of the earners affected by the certificate;

(b)in the case of a money purchase contracted-out scheme, the protected rights under, or in the case of any other scheme, the benefits provided by the scheme, or

(c)the contributions (if any) payable by those earners to the scheme,

an election with a view to the variation of a certificate shall be made in writing to the Department within 3 months of the event to which the election relates or such longer period as the Department may in its discretion allow and may be made without compliance with paragraphs (1) and (4) to (7).

(4) Notices of intention to make an election with a view to the variation or surrender of a contracting-out certificate shall be given within 3 months of the event to which the election relates, or such longer period as the Department may in its discretion allow, to the persons referred to in regulation 3(1)(a) to (d) in the manner mentioned in regulation 3(3).

(5) Notices given under this regulation shall be given in writing and shall—

(a)specify the scheme and the employments concerned and, if the election is not intended to be in relation to all earners in those employments, the categories or descriptions of the earners to be so affected;

(b)specify the date from which it is intended that the variation or surrender is to have effect;

(c)specify the date of expiry of the notice in accordance with regulation 3(4) and (5);

(d)specify the name and business address of a person to whom representations may be made with respect to the matters included in the notice;

(e)contain a statement that—

(i)such representations may also be made to the Department;

(ii)the Department may defer its determination to enable the election to be further considered in the light of representations made by or on behalf of persons to whom the notice is given, and

(iii)the Department has power to refuse to give effect to the election if it is not satisfied that the employer has undertaken consultations about the matters covered by the notice with all independent trade unions recognised in relation to the earners concerned;

(f)explain (whether or not by reference to another document) how, if the proposed variation or surrender took place, the additional pensions of state retirement pensions and widows' benefits payable to or in respect of the earners concerned under the Contributions and Benefits Act, and the rates at which contributions payable by those earners under Part I of that Act, would be affected, and

(g)describe (whether or not by reference to another document) any changes which would be made to the benefits provided under, and the contributions (if any) payable by earners concerned to, the scheme if the proposed variation or surrender took place.

(6) An employer who has given such a notice as is mentioned in this regulation shall undertake consultations, if he has not already done so, about the matters covered by the notice with all independent trade unions recognised in relation to the earners concerned and any question whether an employer has complied with this requirement may be referred to an industrial tribunal.

(7) An election under this regulation may only be made after the date of the expiry of the notice given in accordance with paragraphs (4) and (5) and within 3 months of that date (or such longer period as the Department may in its discretion allow), so however that nothing in this paragraph shall prevent an election from being made after the giving of further notices which comply with the requirements of this regulation.

(8) An employer may amend his election under this regulation at any time before the variation or surrender of the certificate if the amendment does not alter the categories or descriptions of the earners affected by the certificate.

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