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Pensions – Are you clued up for auto-enrolment?

Back in October last year, the Government introduced a new piece of legislation that will result in all businesses having to ‘auto-enrol’ eligible employees into a qualifying pension scheme. This applies to all UK employers including charities and those with only one employee.

This will have a financial impact on businesses and it is important to understand both when this applies to your business and what you have to do.

With regard to the former, each employer will be given a date by the Pensions Regulator, from which time they must ‘auto-enrol’ – this is called the ‘staging date’.

From this date, you will have to auto-enrol eligible employees in a pension scheme when they reach the income tax threshold, although contributions will only kick-in from the employee threshold for national insurance contributions.

You will be allowed to operate a three-month postponement window for all employees so that employees on short-term contracts do not need to be auto-enrolled into the pension scheme. They can, however, choose to voluntarily opt-in during this postponement period.

Your ‘staging date’ will be based on the number of employees in your PAYE scheme as at 1st April 2012 with the staging date moving further into the future the fewer the number of employees. Most small businesses, therefore, will not be affected until 2015 or beyond. Visit to view a table of ‘staging dates’.

Whilst 2015 seems some way off yet, this will come round faster than you would imagine and therefore now is the time to start seriously thinking about developing a time-line to auto-enrolment and to consider the ultimate impact on your business.

Some of the things that you will need to consider at this stage and to build in to your time-line are:

  • Nominate a point of contact
  • Assess your work force
  • Review any existing pension arrangements
  • Think about new pension arrangements
  • Communicate forthcoming changes to your workforce.

This only covers HR-related aspects of auto-enrolment. In addition to this, you will need to consider which pension fund to take up for your business and therefore it would make good sense to engage with an experienced financial advisor who is fully conversant with pensions and the impact of forthcoming changes to your business.

See here for how you can attend a FREE seminar on this topic.

“There is evidence to suggest that good HR practice and people management in SMEs are key factors in strong business performance and can lead to increased productivity.”

- CIPD people Skills Project 2017


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