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Automatic enrolment passes the eight million milestone

Ref: PN17-38

Issued: Tuesday 11 July 2017

More than eight million employees have signed up for a workplace pension since the launch of automatic enrolment, new figures published today confirm.

The introduction of automatic enrolment was expected to lead to around eight million workers saving more for their retirement.

The latest declaration of compliance report (PDF, 148kb, 10 pages) by The Pensions Regulator (TPR) reveals that estimate has already been reached – with hundreds of thousands more employers still to enrol staff over the coming months.

Minister for Pensions and Financial Inclusion Guy Opperman said:

“Reaching this eight million figure is a formidable achievement and represents a huge number of people on the path to a more financially secure retirement.

“But we cannot be complacent and as contribution rates rise we know there is more to be done. That’s why our automatic enrolment review, which will report back later this year, is so vital to the future of this life-changing policy.”

TPR’s declaration of compliance report reveals that at the end of June, 8,165,000 workers were saving for their retirement in a workplace pension as a direct result of automatic enrolment.

During June 2017 alone, 168,000 people gained workplace pensions because of automatic enrolment – the equivalent of almost one every 15 seconds. This came as 44,328 more UK employers declared that they had completed their workplace pension responsibilities, bringing the total number of employers who have done so to 642,454.

Employers continue to have ongoing duties after they have declared their compliance with the automatic enrolment rules. Last week, TPR published research that showed most employers find meeting their ongoing duties easier than they had expected. Most micro employers interviewed said they spent only half an hour a month completing their duties.

Darren Ryder, TPR's Director of Automatic Enrolment, said:

“Tens of thousands more people every week are signing up to a new workplace pension through automatic enrolment. Employers are continuing to become compliant and to remain so, allowing their staff to get the pensions they are entitled to.

“There are more than 500,000 more employers whose duties are still to begin over the coming months. I would urge each and every one of them to check today that they know what they need to do and when they need to do it so they can seek our help if they need it.”

All employers have legal duties and can use the Duties Checker on TPR’s website to quickly understand exactly what they must do.

Editor's notes

  1. The Department for Work and Pensions published a study in April 2013 titled Automatic enrolment: Qualitative research with large employers. In the report’s summary it said: “Once fully implemented the reforms aim to increase the number of individuals newly saving or saving more in a workplace pension by around eight million, within a range of six to nine million”.
  2. The first workers were automatically enrolled into pension schemes in 2012, starting with the largest employers. The policy was introduced to address under-saving with millions of workers not putting aside enough for retirement, and only one in three private sector workers paying into a workplace pension.
  3. TPR is the regulator of work-based pension schemes in the UK. Our statutory objectives are: to protect members’ benefits; to reduce the risk of calls on the Pension Protection Fund); to promote, and to improve understanding of, the good administration of work-based pension schemes; to maximise employer compliance with automatic enrolment duties; and to minimise any adverse impact on the sustainable growth of an employer (in relation to the exercise of TPR’s functions under Part 3 of the Pensions Act 2004 only).

Press contacts

James Glover

Senior Media Officer
01273 662098

Matt Adams

Media Relations Manager
01273 662086

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