Find your client's staging date using their PAYE reference

A 'staging date' is the date the new pensions law first applies to a business. Your client's staging date is based on information we held from HMRC at 1 April 2012 regarding the number of persons in their largest PAYE scheme. You can find out their likely staging date now on our website. You'll need to know their PAYE reference and how many people are in the PAYE scheme.

  • Interactive toolFind out your staging date

    You'll need to know your client's PAYE scheme reference to look up their 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 a staging date forward.
  • Guidance 2. Getting ready (PDF, 441kb)

    Section 2 contains detailed information on identifying your client's staging date. This will be helpful for:

    • employers with more than 1 PAYE scheme
    • multiple employers that share 1 PAYE scheme
    • employers that are part of complex corporate or group structures
    • small employers who have fewer than 50 workers
    • identifying the staging date in the case of company takeovers and mergers
    • employers that do not have a PAYE scheme.

Check which workers meet the automatic enrolment criteria

You may be asked to identify any eligible jobholders working for your client.

In addition to eligible jobholders, there are other types of worker:

  • Non-eligible jobholder
  • Entitled worker

You'll need to be able to identify whether your client has such workers. If they do, they will have employer duties in relation to them.

The following resources will help in identifying any eligible jobholders or other categories of worker:

Check your payroll software functionality

Check with your software provider whether the payroll system you use for your client supports automatic enrolment functions. We expect that payroll software will support core functionality to help you with any tasks your client asks you to carry out:

  • Checking the eligibility of workers for automatic enrolment by assessing age and earnings
  • Calculating the date that each worker becomes eligible to be automatically enrolled
  • Calculating pension contributions and making deductions
  • Processing refunds for those that opt out of the pension.

If your payroll software doesn't support this functionality, detailed information on the above is available in:

Find out if an existing pension scheme can be used

Clients who already have a workplace pension scheme might want to carry on using it. The scheme will need to meet certain criteria. If it doesn't, it may be possible to change the scheme rules, or they may need to choose a new scheme. Your clients could ask you to help them do this.

If your clients run a DC scheme, we've created a DC qualifying scheme tool to help them assess whether their existing DC scheme meets the minimum criteria.

  • Guidance 4. Pension schemes (PDF, 509kb, 35 pages)
    • How to assess whether an existing scheme is a qualifying scheme that can continue to be used for existing members who meet the automatic enrolment criteria
    • The criteria a scheme must meet to be an automatic enrolment scheme and how to check
    • Flowcharts to help make these assessments.

    It's important that the pension scheme your client chooses will deliver good outcomes for their workers' retirement savings.

Provide the pension scheme with details of workers to enrol

If your client asks you to automatically enrol eligible jobholders into their pension scheme on their behalf, there is a set process you'll need to follow, explained in:

  • Guidance 5. Automatic enrolment (PDF, 539kb)
    • How to automatically enrol
    • The information that must be provided to the person who's being enrolled, and to the scheme they are being enrolled into
    • When to automatically enrol
    • Ongoing responsibilities once automatic enrolment is completed.

Provide workers with details of scheme membership, contributions and deductions

  • Resource Information to workers (PDF, 365kb, 20 pages)
    • What information  must be provided for each type of worker
    • What generic information must be provided to all workers
    • Timescales for providing the information
    • The ways in which the information can be provided.
  • Guidance 5. Automatic enrolment (PDF, 539kb)

    Section 1 details the information that must be provided to the worker being enrolled and to the scheme they're being enrolled into.

Register your client with The Pensions Regulator and keep records

All employers are required to register with us within four months of their staging date. Your client may ask you to register with us on their behalf - you can register online.

Arrange for pension contributions to be paid to the pension provider

Employers will be required to make ongoing contributions to their 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.

  • Overview Phasing

    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.

These safeguards came into effect for all employers from July 2012.

Automatic enrolment

© The Pensions Regulator 2013