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Employer Debt: Basics
Under section 75 and section 75A of the Pensions Act 1995, where the value at the trigger time of a defined benefit (DB) scheme's assets are less than a scheme's liabilities (both calculated on a prescribed basis), the amount equal to the difference is treated as a debt due from the employer to the scheme trustees (the employer debt).
Broadly, the trigger time is:
- immediately before an insolvency event;
- when the scheme goes into wind up; or
- in a multi-employer scheme, when a participating employer exits the scheme leaving behind at least one other employer.
The calculation of the assets and liabilities is made in two parts:
- firstly, the trustees and actuary have to determine whether there is a deficit in the scheme;
- secondly, if the scheme is a multi-employer scheme, the debt must be apportioned between the participating employers.
Once calculated the debt is due from the employer(s) to the trustees.