Nest Insight teams up with SUEZ recycling and recovery UK and TransaveUK to launch opt-out payroll savings trial

Nest Insight has launched a new UK research trial in collaboration with SUEZ recycling and recovery UK and TransaveUK to test the effectiveness of an opt-out approach to workplace emergency saving.

This innovative trial, believed to be one of the first of its kind, will examine whether making payroll saving the default enables many more workers, who want to build up a savings buffer, to get started. Nest Insight’s opt-out payroll savings programme has been made possible by the support of the BlackRock Foundation and the Money and Pensions Service (MaPS).

Over the next six months, new joiners to SUEZ, a leading recycling and waste management company, will be automatically signed up to payroll saving with credit union Transave, if they don’t opt out. Drawing upon early findings from Nest Insight’s sidecar savings trial, it’s believed that the automatic nature of this approach will reduce barriers to saving by reducing sign-up friction and overcoming inertia – people’s tendency to do nothing when faced with a decision. This change, similar to the approach used for pensions auto enrolment, preserves employees’ choice to decide what to do with their money, whilst removing the need for them to complete a full sign-up journey if they want to start saving. Instead, there’s only one decision to make: whether to opt out. Employees will be able to make changes to the amount they save if they want to, quickly withdraw their money if they need it and they can stop saving at any time.

Together with academics, Sarah Holmes Berk, John Beshears and David Laibson from Harvard University, and James Choi from Yale University, Nest Insight will assess the effectiveness of the approach. The trial will compare around 600 SUEZ new-joiners who are offered payroll saving with Transave on an opt-out basis, to a control group who will continue to be offered payroll saving on an opt-in basis. Research will be conducted for one year to assess participation rates, savings behaviours, and the impact on employee financial wellbeing.

Guy Opperman, Minister for Pensions and Financial Inclusion, said:

“Employers have a vital role in helping their staff build greater financial resilience. Schemes offered by employers, such as payroll savings, can help people build a safety net that enables them to withstand short-term financial shocks.

“Workplace emergency savings schemes take up is too low and I look forward to reviewing the findings of this trial.”

Michelle Sutton, Head of Reward and Pensions at SUEZ recycling and recovery UK, said:

“Our proactive and holistic approach to supporting our people encompasses all aspects of their wellbeing, including their finances. This trial complements our existing portfolio of financial benefits that includes a salary advance service, an opt-in savings scheme, emergency loans, discounts with a broad range of high street retailers and webinars on financial wellbeing topics such as budgeting, pensions and fraud prevention.

“We know that our people are making use of the salary advance service and, by setting the default savings amount at £40 to match the average salary advance draw down, we hope that it will be an accessible and user-friendly way for staff to build up a savings buffer to draw upon for those unexpected outlays, such as broken appliances or emergency vets fees.

“We have taken care to ensure communications to our new starters on the opt-out model were fully transparent, empowering them to decide if saving is right for them, and we’re looking forward to hearing from those who save, on how the trial affects their financial position and attitude to saving.”

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