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From October 2012 most workers will start being auto-enrolled into a pension plan by their Employer (under the Pensions Bill that also abolished the Default Retirement Age during 2011) – here we give you the full details of the scheme.
Employers will have to start paying up to a minimum of 3% of each worker’s monthly salary, starting from October 2012 into a pension scheme and manage their workers’ contributions and the pension fund, if the worker is not already in a suitable pension scheme.
[Article updated 2017]
This will apply to all workers aged 22 and over (but who have not yet reached the State Pension age) who earn more than £10,000 per year and who work in the UK. This figure, known as the ‘qualifying figure’ is the 2014/15 PAYE threshold but remains the same during 2016/17 and 2017/18, will be reviewed annually and is made up a worker’s pay, overtime, commission, bonuses, statutory sick pay and statutory maternity / paternity / adoption pay. These workers will be called ‘eligible job holders‘ under this legislation and must be auto-enrolled into the pension scheme.
This includes agency workers. Eligible jobholders will have to be enrolled automatically by the 12th week of their employment but can choose to opt-back out of the scheme after auto-enrolment.
The Pensions Regulator will contact all Employers 6-12 months before their staging date with full details. Employers must register with The Regulator and give them details of their scheme and the number of people that have been automatically enrolled. If an Employer does not offer their own pension scheme they will need to choose one (The Pensions Regulator have produced information to help with this which is here) or they can use the new National Employment Savings Trust (Nest) scheme. If an Employer already has their own pension scheme they will need to check it is a qualifying scheme and confirm this with the Regulator– a qualifying scheme must not impose barriers, such as probationary periods or age limits for members; or must not require staff to make an active choice to join. The Department for Work and Pensions have published a ‘toolkit’ for Employers. In addition, from 2012, Employers must not:
|PAYE scheme size|
|120,000 or more PAYE workers||1 October 2012|
|50,000-119,999||1 November 2012|
|30,000-49,999||1 January 2013|
|20,000-29,999||1 February 2013|
|10,000-19,999||1 March 2013|
|6,000-9,999||1 April 2013|
|4,100-5,999||1 May 2013|
|4,000-4,099||1 June 2013|
|3,000-3,999||1 July 2013|
|2,000-2,999||1 August 2013|
|1,250-1,999||1 September 2013|
|800-1,249||1 October 2013|
|500-799||1 November 2013|
|350-499||1 January 2014|
|250-349||1 February 2014|
Employer by PAYE scheme size
|50 to 249 PAYE workers||1 April 2014||1 April 2015|
|30 to 49||1 August 2015||1 October 2015|
|Fewer than 30||1 January 2016||1 April 2017|
|Employers without PAYE schemes||1 April 2017|
|New employers who set up from April 2012 to March 2013||1 May 2017|
|New employers who set up from April 2013 to March 2014||1 July 2017|
|New employers who set up from April 2014 to March 2015||1 August 2017|
|New employers who set up from April 2015 to December 2015||1 October 2017|
|New employers who set up from January 2016 to September 2016||1 November 2017|
|New employers who set up from October 2016 to June 2017||1 January 2018|
|New employers who set up from July 2017 to September 2017||1 February 2018|
|New employers who set up from October 2017 onwards||Immediate duty|
Employers are allowed to bring their staging date forward, but it must be from a list of available dates here.
Employers with staging dates up to 1st February 2018 can ‘postpone’ the automatic enrolment of new workers into the scheme (after they reach the staging date) for 3 months (often lined with a probationary period; or a short-term contract). However, currently, employers who set up their business from October 2017 onwards will not be able to use postponement. In early 2017 the Government are consulting on 2 changes to new employees from 1st October 2017:
If you are an Employer and need ongoing professional help with any staff / freelance issues, or help implementing pensions auto-enrolment, then talk to Lesley at The HR Kiosk – a Human Resources Consultancy for small businesses – our fees are low to reflect the pressures on small businesses and you can hire us for as much time as you need.
Please note that the advice given on this website and by our Advisors is guidance only and cannot be taken as an authoritative or current interpretation of the law. It can also not be seen as specific advice for individual cases. Please also note that there are differences in legislation in Northern Ireland.
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