Skip to main content

Your browser is out of date, and unable to use many of the features of this website

Please upgrade your browser.

Ignore

This website requires cookies. Your browser currently has cookies disabled.

Knowing your client's ongoing duties

  1. Overview
  2. Ongoing duties after your client's legal duties have started
  3. Record-keeping
  4. Automatic enrolment earnings threshold

Automatic enrolment earnings threshold

What must your client continue to do?

Automatic enrolment is a continuing responsibility for employers. An employer's duties do not end after their duties start date.

What letters are sent to my clients from TPR?

The Pensions Regulator (TPR) sends out letters and emails to employers to support them with their automatic enrolment duties. These letters form a series of communications which are sent to your clients during the automatic enrolment process, helping them to understand their duties and guiding them through what to do next.

You may find it useful to familiarise yourself with these, to help your clients with staging dates understand what do to and by when.

Advanced guidance

These resources may help if you have more detailed questions on the above:

Your client’s automatic enrolment duties don’t just stop once they’ve enrolled all their staff – they become part of their business as usual.

Your client has to keep paying contributions into the pension scheme, keep up-to-date records for their staff, monitor any changes in age or earnings, and manage requests to opt in or leave the scheme

Key points

  • your client needs to pay regular contributions into the pension
  • they need to monitor the age and earnings of all their staff, and any new staff joining
  • they also have to process any requests to opt in, join or leave the scheme, and keep and maintain accurate records
  • your client will need to re-enrol every three years
  • all of this should become business as usual for your client, just like real-time PAYE

Contributions

Your client must calculate and pay their own contributions to their pension scheme on behalf of their staff, as well as calculating, deducting and paying over their staff’s own contributions.

Your client will have agreed contribution rates and when to pay them with the pension scheme when they were setting it up. The amount they must pay must be at or above the minimum amount set in law.

For more information about the minimum rates and paying contributions to a pension scheme, see our page on working out your client’s costs.

Changes in staff's age and earnings

Your client will need to monitor any changes in age and earnings of their staff so they can identify if their staff become eligible for automatic enrolment. They must also check eligibility of any new member of staff. Your client’s business software, eg their payroll, should be able to support them with this monitoring.

For more information on how to assess who to put into a pension scheme, see our page on checking who to enrol.

Opt outs

Opting out is when a staff member decides to leave their pension scheme within a month of being enrolled and get a full refund of any contributions they’ve made.

For more information on what to do, including issuing refunds, go to opting out.

Opt-ins and joiners

Some staff who aren’t eligible for automatic enrolment have a right to opt in to a scheme your client uses for automatic enrolment. Staff who opt in are entitled to an employer contribution from your client.

Other staff, who earn under a certain amount, are entitled to join a pension scheme. Though there’s no entitlement in law for your client to pay an employer contribution for these staff, they can choose to if they wish.

To find out who can opt in or join a scheme, and what your client must do if their staff ask to do so, go to opting in and joining.

Keeping records

Your client must keep up-to-date records about their staff, including who they’ve enrolled and when, information about their pension scheme, and the contributions they are paying.

To find out what information your client needs to keep about their staff and pension scheme, go to record-keeping.

Automatic re-enrolment

Re-enrolment occurs every three years and is basically a repeat of the duties that your client carried out on their staging date or duties start date. Your client must ensure that eligible staff who are not already in a pension scheme that can be used for automatic enrolment are put back into it.

To find out how to automatically re-enrol staff, see our page on re-enrolment.

Advanced guidance

This resource is aimed at professional advisers and employers with in-house pensions professionals.
5. Automatic enrolment process
PDF 379KB , 33 pages
Published: April 2017
Includes more information about deducting and paying contributions, and the time limits for paying contributions.

Your client must keep records about their staff and the pension scheme they enrol their staff into. Find out what records to keep, the systems they should use to store them and how long they should store their records for.

Key points

  • Your client must keep records about their staff and their pension scheme.
  • Ensure that they have all their records ready for automatic enrolment and have the right processes in place to manage any changes.
  • Make sure your client provides the right information to their pension scheme.

Which records to keep

By law, there are two different types of records that an employer must keep:

  1. Records about staff
  2. Records about the pension scheme

Your client must keep these records for a minimum of six years (except for records of opt-outs which they must keep for four years).

You can find a list of the records that must be kept in our advanced guidance section below.

Keeping records

Your client must retain any opt-in, joining or opt-out notices they receive from their staff as this is proof that they have exercised these rights.

Your client must keep these records in a legible format so that the regulator can understand them, if we ask to see them.

If your client outsources their business or pensions administration to a third party, it’s still their legal responsibility to make sure they follow the same rules as above. The records must be provided to us in a timely manner, if we ask to see them.

Advanced guidance

This resource is aimed at professional advisers and employers with in-house professionals.

Every year, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) reviews the earnings thresholds for automatic enrolment. Where there’s a change, we’ll update this page with the new thresholds after DWP has announced them.

The changes take effect from the start of the next tax year (6 April) following the announcement.

Here you can find the earnings thresholds for the current tax year, broken down by pay frequency, plus the historic earnings thresholds starting from when the law was introduced in the 2012 - 2013 tax year.

Earnings thresholds for previous tax years

Pay reference period
2019 - 2020 Annual 1 week Fortnight 4 weeks  1 month  1 quarter Bi-annual 
Lower level of qualifying earnings £6,136  £118  £236  £472  £512  £1,534  £3,068
Earnings trigger for automatic enrolment £10,000  £192  £384  £768  £833  £2,499  £4,998
Upper level of qualifying earnings £50,000  £962  £1,924  £3,847  £4,167  £12,500  £25,000

 

Pay reference period
2018 - 2019 Annual 1 week Fortnight 4 weeks 1 month 1 quarter Bi-annual
Lower level of qualifying earnings £6,032 £116 £232 £464 £503 £1,508 £3,016
Earnings trigger for automatic enrolment £10,000 £192 £384 £768 £833 £2,499 £4,998
Upper level of qualifying earnings £46,350 £892 £1,783 £3,566 £3,863 £11,588 £23,175

 

Pay reference period
2017 - 2018 Annual 1 week Fortnight 4 weeks 1 month 1 quarter Bi-annual
Lower level of qualifying earnings £5,876 £113 £226 £452 £490 £1,469 £2,938
Earnings trigger for automatic enrolment £10,000 £192 £384 £768 £833 £2,499 £4,998
Upper level of qualifying earnings £45,000 £866 £1,731 £3,462 £3,750 £11,250 £22,500

 

Pay reference period
2016 - 2017 Annual 1 week Fortnight 4 weeks 1 month 1 quarter Bi-annual
Lower level of qualifying earnings £5,824 £112 £224 £448 £486 £1,456 £2,912
Earnings trigger for automatic enrolment £10,000 £192 £384 £768 £833 £2,499 £4,998
Upper level of qualifying earnings £43,000 £827 £1,654 £3,308 £3,583 £10,750 £21,500

 

Pay reference period
2015 - 2016 Annual 1 week Fortnight 4 weeks 1 month 1 quarter Bi-annual
Lower level of qualifying earnings £5,824 £112 £224 £448 £486 £1,456 £2,912
Earnings trigger for automatic enrolment £10,000 £192 £384 £768 £833 £2,499 £4,998
Upper level of qualifying earnings £42,385 £815 £1,631 £3,261 £3,532 £10,597 £21,193

 

Pay reference period
2014 - 2015 Annual 1 week Fortnight 4 weeks 1 month 1 quarter Bi-annual
Lower level of qualifying earnings £5,772 £111 £222 £444 £481 £1,443 £2,886
Earnings trigger for automatic enrolment £10,000 £192 £384 £768 £833 £2,499 £4,998
Upper level of qualifying earnings £41,865 £805 £1,611 £3,221 £3,489 £10,467 £20,933

 

Pay reference period
2013 - 2014 Annual 1 week Fortnight 4 weeks 1 month 1 quarter Bi-annual
Lower level of qualifying earnings £5,668 £109 £218 £436 £473 £1,417 £2,834
Earnings trigger for automatic enrolment £9,440 £182 £364 £727 £787 £2,360 £4,720
Upper level of qualifying earnings £41,450 £797 £1,594 £3,188 £3,454 £10,363 £20,725

 

Pay reference period
2012 - 2013 Annual 1 week Fortnight 4 weeks 1 month 1 quarter 4 monthly Bi-annual
Lower level of qualifying earnings £5,564 £107 £214 £428 £464 £1,391 £1,855 £2,782
Earnings trigger for automatic enrolment £8,105 £156 £312 £624 £676 £2,027 £2,702 £4,053
Upper level of qualifying earnings £42,475 £817 £1,634 £3,268 £3,540 £10,619 £14,159 £21,238