On this page
- Key points
- What is automatic enrolment and why do I have to do it?
- When will I have to do it?
- Who do I need to put into a pension scheme?
- What else do I need to do?
- Where do I start?
- Automatic enrolment affects all employers with staff in the UK.
- You must enrol certain staff into a pension scheme.
- You must start doing this from your staging date, though there is an option to postpone automatic enrolment for up to three months.
- You must write to all your staff to tell them how they’ve been affected.
What is automatic enrolment and why do I have to do it?
People are living longer yet too many people are under-saving or not saving at all for what could be a long retirement. The law on workplace pensions has changed to make it easier for millions more people to build up a pension, particularly those on lower incomes.
Automatic enrolment means that, rather than having to actively choose to join a pension scheme, staff are put into one by their employer as a matter of course. If they don’t want to be in the pension scheme, they must actively choose to opt out. It’s to encourage people to stay in pension saving.
When will I have to do it?
Automatic enrolment duties come into force for you from your ‘staging date’. You can find out your staging date by entering your PAYE reference into our tool. It also appears on any letters we send you about your duties.
For more information go to what is my staging date?.
You will have the option to postpone automatic enrolment for up to three months from your staging date. If you decide to do this, you won’t need to enrol anyone until the end of the postponement period.
For more information go to postponement.
Who do I need to put into a pension scheme?
You must automatically enrol all staff who are:
- aged 22 to state pension age
- working in the UK
- earning over £9,440 a year.
Some staff who don’t meet the criteria above are able to opt in to the pension scheme you’re using for automatic enrolment. You must put them in if they ask.
You’ll have to pay a minimum employer contribution for all staff you put into this scheme.
Certain other staff can ask to join a pension scheme. You must put these staff in a scheme, but the rules are different and there’s no requirement for you to pay an employer contribution.
It’s the age and earnings of a member of staff that determines what ‘type’ of worker they are and therefore what duties you’ll have for them.
For more information go to know your workforce.
What else do I need to do?
You’ll need to write to each member of staff individually to tell them how they’ve personally been affected by automatic enrolment.
The information you’ll need to tell them is different depending on their rights and the duties you have for them.
You must also provide certain information to the regulator about how you’ve complied with your duties.
Find out more about reporting and regulatory duties.
Where do I start?
The first thing you should do is find out your staging date. Once you know when this is, you can start planning to make sure you’re ready in time.
Start planning early
You’ll need to make some changes to allow for automatic enrolment, such as:
- setting up a pension scheme or modifying an existing one
- making any necessary changes to payroll so it can handle the new requirements
- putting systems in place to monitor the ages and earnings of your staff (your payroll may be able to do this)
- writing to your staff.
Our automatic enrolment planner will help you find out what you’ll need to do, when you’ll need to do it and roughly how long each part will take.