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We wish to draw the attention of employers who participate in the Benchmark Retirement Fund, to the fact that it is a requirement that all new employees joining the employer after the date the employer joined the fund, must be enrolled as members of the fund. This is not optional and employers affording new employees the choice whether or not to become a member are transgressing the rules, the agreement with the fund and the requirements of the Income Tax Act.

Employers who engage in such practice firstly may find that the Receiver of Revenue cancels the tax approval of the employer’s pension fund. In terms of the Income Tax Act, membership of a fund must be obligatory in order for employee contributions being allowed as a deduction against the employee’s taxable income. Cancellation of tax approval will mean that the contributions that employees have made to the fund will be disallowed. In other words the employees that participate will be punished for the transgression by those the employer afforded the choice to join and who chose not to join.

From the fund’s and the insurer’s perspective it is also important that membership is a condition of employment. This serves to ensure that the employees cannot apply anti-selection. In other words healthy employees are more likely not to join while those who know to have a health impediment are more likely to join. As the result the fund may end up with the poor risks undermining the principles of group underwriting. To protect the fund against such practices, the trustees have the powers to terminate membership of an employer.

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