If Father Christmas was an employee ...

Pantomime season is upon us so a seasonal question for you: If you take on Father Christmas as an employee will he have to be auto enrolled? 

There are a number of reasons why he should be (workforce harmony, simpler to administer pensions on the same basis for all staff etc.) but there are also a number of other considerations you could take into account!

For example, where is he ordinarily resident? Let’s assume he is resident somewhere other than the UK, then will he spend enough time in the UK to qualify as resident?! If he does, lets also look at the latest Directives from Europe regarding paying overtime and holiday pay (and given he potentially has up to 51 weeks holiday a year how do you plan for that!

We recommend that you take him on a short term contract until Christmas Eve and then you can safely avoid the earnings spike at Christmas. This, combined with using Postponement from day 1 until 3 months should safely see this situation avoided.

Also, is it likely that he only has one job given the very seasonal nature of his work?!

And let’s not forget his age! Given he is likely to be older than State Pension Age this makes him a non-eligible jobholder. But when you look again surely he is older than 75 and so outside the scope of auto-enrolment altogether!

Other considerations I have had include his means of transport – does that count as a company vehicle, and also what about the Grotto – is that given as part of the job and if so does he pay tax on the Benefit In Kind?!

In summary though – I imagine the Pension Regulator guideline is 'don't assume that because someone is a fictional character they are not classified as a worker for AE purposes.'

Kai Tang

The EB Partnership, Apsley House, 176 Upper Richmond Road, London, SW15 2SH