UK auto-enrolment pension provider NEST has expanded the scope of its “sidecar” savings project, introduced last year to explore how to improve the financial resilience of UK workers.

Two more employers – Yusen Logistics and the University of Glasgow – have signed up to offer an emergency savings option to their employees, alongside high street services chain Timpsons, which was announced as the first company to run the project in November last year.

Presenting the sidecar savings project at an event hosted by NEST’s Insight research department this week, head of research and innovation Jo Phillips said more employers were interested in joining the trial.

The trial went live this month, with staff at the three companies offered the ability to save into an emergency savings pot using contributions from their monthly wages, on an opt-in basis.

The savings “jars”, as NEST has branded them, have been framed as emergency savings accounts, but no restrictions have been placed on how the money can be spent or how accessible it is.


Timpsons was the first employer to sign up to NEST’s sidecar savings trial

Staff can set how much they would like to save each month and an overall “target” for the emergency savings pot. Any contributions paid after this level is reached will be automatically redirected into the individual’s NEST pension account.

The trial would run for two years, Phillips said.

The Money and Pensions Service, which helped fund the project, said there were six areas that the trial was designed to explore, namely:

  • How much individuals were prepared to save;
  • Whether they maintained a regular saving amount;
  • What effects were observed on individuals’ financial resilience;
  • Whether savers were “on a trajectory to save more for retirement”;
  • Whether the emergency savings had effects on financial and non-financial wellbeing; and
  • Who benefited most from the trial and why.

Salary Finance is providing the payroll technology that will monitor contribution levels and switch from the savings pot to the pension account and vice versa. Yorkshire Building Society has provided the bank accounts.