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Directors and automatic enrolment - do you have duties?

If you only have directors and you don’t employ any other staff, whether you have automatic enrolment duties will depend on your roles and if you have employment contracts.

In some cases directors may be exempt from duties under automatic enrolment, even if they have an employment contract. This is because in these cases the director is not classed as a member of staff.

When does automatic enrolment apply to a director?

You will have automatic enrolment duties:

  • if the director has a contract of employment with your organisation and at least one other person (who can be another director or a member of staff) also has a contract of employment with your organisation
  • if you have multiple directors and no other staff - and at least two of the directors have employment contracts - all the directors with employment contracts will be members of staff and subject to automatic enrolment duties

Use our online tool to find out what you need to do and by when.

When does automatic enrolment not apply to a director?

You will not have automatic enrolment duties:

  • if a director does not have an employment contract, they are not considered a member of staff and do not need to be assessed for automatic enrolment – however if you have other staff, you’re an employer and will have duties for these staff - even if none of these staff meet the age and earnings criteria to be put into a pension scheme you must still complete a declaration of compliance
  • if your organisation only has directors without contracts of employment and no other staff
  • if your organisation only has one director with a contract of employment and no other staff

Tell us you're not an employer

In these cases you only need to complete the online form to tell us that you're not an employer if you receive a letter from us.

Tell us you're not an employer

Exception to a director who is a member of staff

If you have identified that a director is a member of staff and they meet the age and earnings criteria to be put into a pension scheme, you can choose whether to put them into a scheme or not but you must complete a declaration of compliance.

However, they have the right to ask to join a pension scheme (known as opting in) at any time and, if they do, you cannot refuse to put them into a pension scheme (except if you have chosen to exclude people in their notice period, as they then lose the right to ask to join your pension scheme).

What if we are a married couple/civil partners?

There are no special rules for directors who are married or in a civil partnership, as the duties are not affected by any family relationships.

What if I start to employ someone who is not a director?

If you take on a member of staff who’s not a director you will have duties for automatic enrolment.

As soon as your circumstances change so that automatic enrolment duties apply, you'll need to inform us of this as quickly as possible.

For example, if you take on a member of staff other than a director or if at least two directors started working for you under contracts of employment.

Your duties will start when you employ your first member of staff who is not a director and has an employment contract.