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Key points

  • You can postpone automatic enrolment for up to three months from certain dates.
  • If you postpone from your staging date, your staging date does not change.
  • If you choose to postpone from your staging date, you must write to tell the staff who will be postponed within six weeks of your staging date.
  • Use our sample postponement letter to write to your staff.

Why you might postpone

One of the main reasons you might decide to postpone is if you have temporary or short-term staff who you know will stop working for you within three months. You can also use it to align automatic enrolment with your other business processes. But you can choose to postpone automatic enrolment for any other business reason.

When you can postpone

You can only postpone automatic enrolment from:

  • your staging date
  • a staff member’s first day of employment
  • the date a staff member first becomes eligible for automatic enrolment.

If you postpone from your staging date, it doesn’t change your staging date.

Postponing automatic enrolment

You must write to tell the staff whose automatic enrolment you’re postponing. You will have six weeks from the date postponement starts to write to them. There’s no need to tell us that you’ve decided to postpone automatic enrolment.

You can postpone for up to three months. You can postpone as many or as few staff as you like and the postponement period doesn’t have to be the same length for everyone.

Our employer letter template tool helps you write to staff as required by law. There are four letters you can use for postponement for different circumstances. If you’re postponing from staging, we recommend you use letter template 6, below. You can tailor the letter templates to your needs.

During the postponement period

Staff whose automatic enrolment you’ve postponed can choose to opt in to your pension scheme during the postponement period.

For more information about what to do if you get an opt-in request go to opting in and joining.

At the end of the postponement period

On the last day of the postponement period, you’ll need to know whether any member of staff whose automatic enrolment you’ve postponed is still eligible to be automatically enrolled. If they are, you must put them into a pension scheme straight away. You cannot apply a further period of postponement even if you postponed for less than the three months allowed.

Detailed guidance

Our detailed guidance is aimed at professional advisers and employers with in-house pensions professionals.

  • Guidance 3a. Postponement (PDF, 141kb, 32 pages)

    It includes examples of other notices you might want to send to staff depending on whether they have a right to enrol, opt in or join a pension scheme.

See related content

Go to step 10: your ongoing automatic enrolment duties

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