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Are you a current or past employee of Thomas Cook? This blog post explores your options after the collapse of the company. 

Thomas Cook employee FAQ - pension scheme & redundancy

Are you a current or past employee of Thomas Cook? This blog post explores your options after the collapse of the company. 

I’ve just found out that I am at risk of redundancy

Whether your job is already at risk or you’re worrying about potential cuts, one of the most important things you can do at this time is to take stock of your finances. Our guide will help you start to take control and help you cope much better should the worst happen.

What are my rights with regards redundancy pay?

If you’ve been in the same job for at least two years, your employer must pay you redundancy money. The legal minimum is called statutory redundancy pay but check your contract – you might get more or be entitled to redundancy pay even if you have been with the company less than two years.

Our free guide on redundancy which can be ordered or printed from the website will provide useful information if your job is under threat or you have been made redundant. It will explain your rights and show what steps you can take to protect your finances.

What happens if my employer has gone bust?

If your employer goes out of business and can’t afford to pay you then you’ll still get statutory redundancy pay and holiday pay owed to you, but you’ll have to claim them from the State rather than from your employer. The court has appointed Special Managers to assist the Official Receiver with the liquidation. Claimants will need to contact the Special Managers (KMPG or Alix Partners depending on the position they held) and ask for a fact sheet. The fact sheet contains all the information they need to make a claim.

Insolvency Practitioners from AlixPartners have been appointed as Special Managers over the airline and tour operator companies. Employees should approach AlixPartners for further information about how to make a claim via their dedicated website.

Insolvency Practitioners from KPMG LLP have been appointed as Special Managers to the Group’s retail division and to its aircraft maintenance companies. Employees of Thomas Cook’s retail and aircraft maintenance companies should approach KPMG for further information about how to make a claim via their dedicated website or TCemployees@kpmg.co.uk.

You can then make your claim online on this site. Do not start your online application until you have received your formal letter of redundancy. This will include the correct CN number, which will end with the numbers ‘61’.

You can then contact the Insolvency Service if you need help using the service on 0330 331 0020 (select option 2).

You can’t apply to the Insolvency Service if you live in Northern Ireland. Find out about your rights in Northern Ireland if your employer is insolvent.

I’m worried about my finances and falling into debt?

If you’re worried about struggling with debt, it can be hard to know where to turn. There are lots of free advice services available across the UK, who can find help in a way that’s best for you.

All the services above are free, confidential and hold a standard or membership code accredited by the Money Advice Service. 

I'm worried about being made redundant. What state benefits will I be entitled to?

If you have been made redundant, help may be available to you, depending on your income, savings, health, family and type of accommodation. To check your benefits entitlement quickly and easily, use the Turn2us Benefits Calculator.

You might find you are entitled to:

You might also qualify for assistance from a Local Welfare Assistance scheme, depending on your circumstances.

If you were receiving Working Tax Credit when you were working, you will no longer be entitled to it if you (and your partner if you have one) aren't working enough hours, but a four week run-on period may apply.

Is my pension protected?

If you are (or were) an employee of Thomas Cook, you will almost certainly have a pension scheme with them.  Depending on when you worked for them you might be a member of more than one of their schemes. To find out which scheme you belong to check your paperwork (the annual statements you receive about your pension).

There are four Thomas Cook Defined Benefit (DB) Pension Schemes and one Defined Contribution (DC) Pension Scheme.  See below for the difference between DB pension schemes and DC pension schemes.

DB schemes are also known as ‘final salary’ schemes and provide valuable benefits as they offer guaranteed pensions based on your salary and the number of years you have been member of the scheme.

The four Thomas Cook Defined Benefit (DB) Pension Schemes are shown below. All four schemes were closed to new contributions in 2011. 

  1. Thomas Cook Pension Plan
  2. Inspirations Group Pension Scheme
  3. AT Mays Ltd Pension and Life Assurance Scheme
  4. Sun International (UK) Ltd Pension and Life Assurance Scheme

What happens to my DB Pension now that Thomas Cook has stopped trading?

It depends on the funding position of each scheme, but it seems likely that now the employer has gone into liquidation, the schemes are expected to enter into the Pension Protection Fund (PPF) assessment period.

What compensation will I receive from the Pension Protection Fund?

Members can feel reassured that their benefits should be protected to at least PPF levels and can check out the PPF’s page on this. Or they call our helpline and speak to one of our independent pension experts who can help with this. Call TPAS free on 0800 011 3797 or visit the TPAS site to send an email or live chat message. 

What about if I am a member of the Defined Contribution (DC) Scheme. How secure is this?

(DC pensions work in a different way to DB pensions. The contributions you and your employer pay into the pension are invested for you and the level of pension you receive when you retire depends on how much has been paid in and the level of investment growth you receive). 

The good news is that if you are building up benefits in a DC pension scheme, the pension pot is owned by you and not the pension providers or your employer.  Therefore even if your employer becomes insolvent (as in the case of Thomas Cook) your pension pot will be unaffected.

If you have already retired and have an annuity in payment, then the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) will step in and cover 100% of any annuities in payment if your provider becomes insolvent. 

Am I at risk of being targeted by scammers?

As the liquidation of Thomas Cook has been widely covered in the press, it is likely that pensions scammers could be looking to profit from the situation. 

How to spot a pension scam:

Scammers often approach with the offer of a free pension review, look out for:

  •     The promise of unrealistically high returns

  •     Offers to give you access to your pension fund before age 55 are likely to be a scam

  •     Don’t be pressured or rushed to decide quickly.


It's best to reject calls or offers that arrive out of the blue. Make sure that anyone offering you advice or other financial services is FCA authorised. Call the FCA Consumer Helpline on 0800 111 6768 to check. Seriously consider seeking regulated financial advice before changing your pension arrangements. The Pensions Advisory Service provides free independent and impartial information and guidance.

Thomas Cook Pension Plan contact details:

By email: thomascook@willistowerswatson.com

By phone: 01737 788111.

Postal address is: 

Thomas Cook Pension Plan

PO Box 545

Redhill

Surrey

RH1 1 YX

 

Inspirations Group Pension Scheme:  

Phone: 0345 074 4063

Email: pensions@jltgroup.com

 

AT Mays Ltd Pension and Life Assurance Scheme:

Phone numbers are 0141 2850119, 0141 2228531 or 0141 2850193 (in that order of preference)

and the team mailbox is Angelasteam@mercer.com.

 

Sun International (UK) Ltd Pension and Life Assurance Scheme:

Phone number is (Mark Johnson) 07720070284 

and team mailbox is pensions.admin@thomascook.com.

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