Main steps to automatic enrolment
Nominate a point of contact
If your staging date is less than 18 months away, you should have received a letter from us with a unique letter code. We will be writing to you with important updates as you prepare for automatic enrolment – make sure these get to the right person in your organisation.
Online service Nominate a contact
You'll need your letter code to confirm your details or to nominate a point of contact for automatic enrolment
Know your staging date and develop a plan
Your staging date is determined by the total number of persons in your largest PAYE scheme, based on information from HMRC which we held at 1 April 2012. You can find out your likely staging date now on our website:
Interactive toolFind out your staging date
You'll need to know your PAYE scheme reference to look up your staging date
Information Staging date timeline
A list of staging dates by PAYE scheme size plus:
- modified staging dates for certain small employers
- information on how to bring your staging date forward.
Guidance 2. Getting ready (PDF, 441kb)
Section 2 contains detailed information on identifying your staging date. This will be helpful for:
- employers with more than one PAYE scheme
- multiple employers that share one PAYE scheme
- employers that are part of complex corporate or group structures
- identifying the staging date in the case of company takeovers and mergers
- employers that do not have a PAYE scheme.
Between now and staging
Assess your workforce
You will need to be able to identify any eligible jobholders working for you.
In addition to eligible jobholders, there are other types of worker:
- Non-eligible jobholder.
- Entitled worker.
You will need to be able to identify whether you have such workers. If you do, you will have employer duties in relation to them.
Resource The different types of worker (PDF, 140kb, 3 pages)
A diagram showing how the different types of worker relate to each other and the criteria for each type.
Interactive tool Your employer duties
Get an initial idea of what duties you will have for your staff.
Guidance 1. Employer duties and defining the workforce (PDF, 433kb)
Section 2 explains how to identify a ‘worker’ – the first step in assessing your workforce.
Section 3 explains the different types of worker and the criteria for each.
Guidance 3. Assessing the workforce (PDF, 468kb, 25 pages)
To identify what type of worker someone is, you will need to assess their earnings. This guidance explains:
- how to make that assessment
- how to assess groups of workers (as opposed to individuals).
This guidance contains two flowcharts to help you make this assessment.
Guidance 3a. Postponement (PDF, 574kb, 26 pages)
An important part of the assessment process is deciding whether you want to use postponement. This guidance explains how the postponement provision operates and how to apply it.
A flowchart is included to help you apply postponement.
Review your pension arrangements
You might have an existing scheme that you can use or adapt for automatic enrolment, or you may need to set up a new one.
Use our DC qualifying scheme tool to help you assess whether your existing DC scheme meets the minimum criteria.
Guidance 4. Pension schemes (PDF, 509kb, 35 pages)
- How to assess whether your existing scheme is a qualifying scheme that you can continue to use for existing members who are eligible jobholders.
- The criteria a scheme must meet to be an automatic enrolment scheme and how to check.
- Flowcharts to help you make these assessments.
It is important that the pension scheme you choose will deliver good outcomes for your workers’ retirement savings.
Guide Selecting a good automatic enrolment scheme (PDF, 62kb, 4 pages)
What to ask about when selecting a pension scheme for automatic enrolment.
Information What makes a good scheme
Key elements that enable a member to achieve a good outcome from a DC pension scheme.
Communicate the changes to all your workers
Employers are required by law to write to all workers (except those aged under 16, or 75 and over) explaining what automatic enrolment into a workplace pension means for them.
There are different information requirements for each category of worker.
Resource Information to workers (PDF, 275kb)
- What information you must provide for each type of worker.
- What generic information you must provide to all workers.
- Timescales for providing the information.
- The ways in which you can provide the information.
Information Writing to workers about automatic enrolment
A set of letter templates to help you when writing to your workers.
Resource Explaining automatic enrolment to workers
Tips and downloadable resources that you can customise and use when communicating with your employees including:
- communications tips
- key messages
- awareness posters you can adapt to display in the workplace
At staging and beyond
Automatically enrol eligible jobholders into a pension scheme
The process you will need to follow to automatically enrol any eligible jobholders you identify when you assess your workforce is explained in:
Interactive tool How to automatically enrol your staff
A summary of the automatic enrolment process.
Guidance 5. Automatic enrolment (PDF, 539kb)
- How to automatically enrol.
- The information you must provide to the person you will be enrolling and to the scheme you are enrolling them into.
- When to automatically enrol.
- Ongoing responsibilities once automatic enrolment is completed.
Guidance 6. Opting in, joining and contractual enrolment (PDF, 234kb)
Information about the rights of workers to join a pension scheme outside automatic enrolment and what you will need to tell them.
Guidance 7. Opting out (PDF, 593kb, 18 pages)
Workers who have been automatically enrolled have the right to ‘opt out’ of pension saving. This guidance explains how to process opt-outs from workers who want to leave a scheme.
Register with The Pensions Regulator and keep records
You are required to register with us within four months of your staging date. Registration is a straightforward online process.
Information Automatic enrolment registration
More information about registration, including how to register and the information you'll need to hand.
Webinar Using the automatic enrolment online registration service
A walk-through video guide to registering online.
Online service Automatic enrolment registration
If your staging date has passed and you've fulfilled all your automatic enrolment duties, you can register online now.
Guidance 9. Keeping records (PDF, 303kb)
Full details of all the records you will need to keep in relation to your workers and your pension scheme.
Contribute to your workers' pensions
You will be required to make ongoing contributions to your workers’ pension schemes. The minimum contribution amounts are set out in law and explained in:
Guidance 4. Pension schemes (PDF, 509kb, 35 pages)
Section 5 explains how the qualifying criteria translate to contribution amounts.
The minimum contribution rates that an employer must pay into their worker's pension scheme are being introduced gradually. This is known as 'phasing'.
Important note: Safeguards in place for individuals
There are certain things the employer must not do, both before a person starts working for them and once that person is a member of a pension scheme with that employer.
Guidance 8. Safeguarding individuals (PDF, 267kb)
- What the safeguards are.
- What conduct is prohibited, during recruitment and once an individual is employed.
- What could be regarded as ‘inducement’ by the regulator with examples.