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An employer can choose to delay assessing and therefore enrolling; an individual, some, or all of their staff into a pension scheme for up to three months.

They must write to their staff to tell them they’re postponing automatic enrolment for them.

Key points

  • An employer can postpone automatic enrolment for up to three months from certain dates
  • If your client postpones from the date their legal duties started, this date does not change
  • If your client chooses to postpone from the date their legal duties started, they still have duties (eg they must write to tell the staff who will be postponed, within six weeks of their duties start date)
  • Use our sample postponement letter to write to staff

Why your client might postpone

One of the main reasons your client might decide to postpone is if they have new temporary or short-term staff who they know will stop working for them within three months.

Your client can also use it to align automatic enrolment with their other business processes, or they can choose to postpone automatic enrolment for any other business reason.

When your client can postpone

Your client can only postpone automatic enrolment from:

  • the date their legal duties started
  • a staff member’s first day of employment
  • the date a staff member first becomes eligible for automatic enrolment

If your client postpones from the date their legal duties started, it doesn’t change the date the duties apply from.

Employers can only use postponement if they are within six weeks of the date they became eligible for automatic enrolment.

Postponing automatic enrolment

Your client must write to tell the staff whose automatic enrolment they’re postponing. They have six weeks from the date postponement starts to write to them. There’s no need to tell us that a client has decided to postpone automatic enrolment.

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

Our postponement letter template for all staff helps your client write to them as required by law. You can tailor the letter template to your needs.

During the postponement period

Staff whose automatic enrolment your client has postponed can choose to opt in to your client’s pension scheme during the postponement period.

For more information about what to do if your client gets 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, your client will need to know whether any member of staff whose automatic enrolment they’ve postponed is still eligible to be enrolled.

If they are, your client must put them into a pension scheme straight away. Your client cannot apply a further period of postponement even if they postponed for less than the three months allowed.

Advanced guidance

These resources are aimed at professional advisers and employers with in-house pensions professionals.

  • 3a. Postponement
    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.