Auto Enrolment

Launched in October 2012, Auto-Enrolment is part of a Government initiative that aims to help more people save and prepare for their retirement and is gradually being rolled out across the country until February 2018.

Already 5.4 million workers have been signed up to a workplace pension under the Government’s programme, but millions more people who work for small businesses have yet to be offered a pension plan from their employer.

It is estimated that over the next two years 1.8 million employers will need to act as a result of auto-enrolment duties, with a staggering 200,000 companies expected to enrol each month.

SMEs with fewer than 30 employees are being rolled out gradually now until February 2018.  Employers will be required to make contributions to their employees’ pension schemes and have a number of legal obligations, including keeping records of these payments.

Firms who miss their staging date or do not fulfil all of their legal obligations face daily fines of up to £10,000, so being unprepared could have a significant impact on SMEs. With the volume of companies staging this year, advice to businesses is to begin preparing at least 12 months before their designated staging date.

For more detailed information read our Auto-Enrolment Factsheet.

HINTS, TIPS & PITFALLS:

  • All employers should give themselves at least a 12 month lead in time to ensure the scheme is implemented before their staging date
  • Employers who are exempt from AE must notify The Pensions Regulator (“TPR”) PRIOR TO their staging date
  • If you currently do not have to carry out AE duties, remember, if you take on a new member of staff who is not a Director, you will need to comply with the workplace pension legislation
  • Within 5 months of your staging date, you must complete a declaration of compliance with TPR
  • It is against the law to try and persuade staff to opt out, provide them with financial advice or employ prohibitive recruitment strategies in respect of the pension scheme
  • Within 6 weeks of their staging date the employer must write to each member of staff explaining certain facts about the scheme (for staff automatically enrolled) and let them know they have the right to opt in or join (for staff not being automatically enrolled)
  • Employers must monitor ages and earnings of new and existing staff every month to assess their eligibility
  • Employers must keep AE records for 6 years and opt-out notices for 4 years on a rolling basis
  • Automatic re-enrolment occurs every three years and is basically a repeat of the duties that you carried out on your staging date.