8 simple steps
Auto-enrolment can seem complicated, especially if you’re new to workplace pensions. We’ve created this simple 8-step guide to explain what you need to do and when – from the first decisions right up to your staging date and beyond.
Step 1: Get ready
As soon as possible. Ideally four months or more before your staging date
First of all, check your staging date and confirm a point of contact with The Pensions Regulator.
- Check your staging date
- Confirm who to contact
1. Check your staging date
Your staging date is when you need to start performing your auto-enrolment duties.
On this date you’ll need to have a workplace pension scheme in place. You’ll also need to assess your workforce to see who you need to enrol.
The Pensions Regulator should have written to tell you what your staging date is 12 months beforehand. But if you’re unsure, you can find out on their website using the link below.
2. Confirm who to contact
If you haven’t already done so, you’ll need to confirm an ’employer contact’ with The Pensions Regulator. This should be the owner/most senior person in your business, and it’s their responsibility to ensure you comply with auto-enrolment.
The Pensions Regulator will send letters to this person, keeping everyone up-to-date with tasks that have to be completed.
The regulator also has a series of emails they send out to help employers with their duties, which you can sign up for on their website. These emails can go to your ’employer contact’ or anyone else – for example, to an accountant or staff member who will be performing these tasks.
It’s not too late to comply with your auto-enrolment duties – even if you’ve missed your staging date. Find out how we can help you.
Step 2: Set up your workplace pension scheme
Ideally two months or more before your staging date
Now it’s time to make some decisions and apply for your Aviva Company Pension scheme. You’ll need to make these decisions before you apply, so give yourself plenty of time.
- How much will you contribute?
- Will your payroll provider help you with auto-enrolment?
- Who’ll be running your scheme day-to-day?
- Get a quote and apply for Company Pension
1. Make some decisions
How much will you contribute?
As an employer you have a legal duty to make pension contributions for any ’jobholders’ who are in your pension scheme. You can also make contributions for any entitled workers if you want – but you don’t have to.
There’s a minimum amount that you’ll need to contribute by law, but you can contribute more if you want to. Before you set up a pension scheme, you’ll need to decide how much you want to contribute.
Will your payroll provider help you with auto-enrolment?
Many payroll providers now offer their own auto-enrolment solutions, performing tasks like assessing your workforce and creating communications to send to staff. Please check to see whether your payroll provder will be performing auto-enrolment actions like these. If they are not, or you do not use a payroll provider, then AME Lite, Aviva’s auto-enrolment software may help you.
It helps you work through all the key administrative tasks involved to make sure you’re compliant with the auto-enrolment pension regulations, saving you time and effort. For example:
- it assesses your workforce and tells you what actions to take for each employee
- it produces the communications you’ll need to send to staff
- and it automatically keeps records of the key information you need to keep by law
Who’ll be running your scheme day-to-day?
Finally, you’ll need to decide who your scheme administrator will be. This is the person who’ll run your pension scheme using our online scheme management system, and the main point of contact for correspondence from Aviva so it’s important you choose the right person to run this for you.
This role can be performed by someone in your business (the business owner or someone in your finance team, for example), or it can be taken by a third party, such as an accountant or bookkeeper.
2. Get a quote and apply for Company Pension
Once you’ve made the decisions above, you’re ready to get a quote and apply for Company Pension, our workplace pension scheme designed for auto-enrolment.
Simply enter a few details into our application form, and we’ll give you a straightforward quote. You can then review it and come back later or complete your application straight away.
- A workplace pension scheme that's designed for auto-enrolment
- Easy to run with our simple online management system
- Compatible with all major payroll systems (and manual payroll too).
- Rated 5 star by independent financial researcher, Defaqto.
Step 3: Assess your workforce
On your staging date
When your staging date arrives, you’ll need to assess your workforce to find out who’s eligible to be enrolled into your Aviva Company Pension scheme.
- What to do
- Using postponement
- Do I need to assess staff on variable hours and pay?
1. What to do
On your staging date, you must check how much each member of staff earns and how old they are. This is called assessing your workforce, and doing it will tell you what your responsibilities are for each employee.
The table below shows the three different categories your employees may fall into, and what your responsibilities are for each.
|16 to 21||22 to state pension age(SPA)||SPA to 74|
|Below £5,824||Entitled worker
Must be enrolled if they ask. You’re not obliged to contribute to their pension pot (but you can if you want)
|Over £5,824 but no more than £10,000||Non-eligible jobholder
Must be enrolled if they ask. You must contribute to their pension pot.
|£10,000 and over||Non-eligible jobholder||Eligible jobholder
Must be automatically enrolled. You must contribute to their pension pot.
This table is accurate for the 2016/17 tax year
2. Using postponement
You can put off assessing some or all of your workforce for a period of up to three months. This is known as ’postponement’.
Your staging date doesn’t change if you use postponement. It simply means you’re choosing a slightly later date on which to assess their age and earnings. This could prove handy in any of the following situations:
- If you have staff on temporary contracts
- If you have staff whose earnings fluctuate
- To allow new starters to pass a probationary period
- To avoid having to calculate and pay pension contributions for part of a pay period
You must let your staff know if you are using a postponement period to tell them how this will affect them.
3. Do I need to assess staff on variable hours and pay?
Yes, you do. If you employ short-term, temporary, zero-hour or other staff who are not on regular hours or incomes, if you pay them through a payroll, you’ll still have to assess them every time you run your payroll. You will then need to take the appropriate action, depending on which category they fall into.
Your payroll provider may offer software that can help you assess your staff. Alternatively, our auto-enrolment software, AME Lite, can help you with this assessment – or you can do it manually.
Step 4: Put staff into your scheme
On your staging date (or up to 3 months later if using postponement)
Now you know which auto-enrolment category each staff member falls into, it’s time to put those you need to into your Aviva Company Pension scheme
- What to do
- Making contributions
1. What to do
Any employees you assessed as being an eligible jobholder will need to be automatically enrolled into your pension scheme.
Doing this is easy with Aviva. All you need to do is upload a file using our online scheme management system. That’s it, that’s all there is to it. We’ll then enrol those employees into your scheme and issue a welcome pack.
We’ll provide full support, showing you how to do this after you’ve applied to set up your scheme.
Employees assessed as non-eligible jobholders or entitled workers don’t have to be automatically enrolled, but they can ask to join your scheme. You’ll need to write to them to explain this within six weeks of your staging date – we’ll cover this in step 5 - write to your staff.
2. Making contributions
Every time you pay staff you’ll need to make contributions into the scheme for any eligible and non-eligible jobholders who are in it. In most cases, your employees will also have to contribute
You’ll need to work out how much you both need to contribute and then send this information to us using our online scheme management system. Again, we’ll provide you with full support, showing you how to do this.
If you’re using payroll software, it may calculate the correct contribution amounts for you.
Step 5: Write to your staff
Within six weeks after your staging date
Once you’ve assessed your staff, by law you must write to them and explaining what's going on.
What you need to do
Within six weeks of your staging date, you must write to all your employees individually to explain how auto-enrolment applies to them. You can do this by letter or email.
Your payroll provider may offer software that can produce these letters or emails for you. Alternatively, AME Lite, our auto-enrolment software, will help you produce these.
Alternatively, there are a number of templates available on The Pensions Regulator’s website that you can use.
Step 6: Declare your compliance
Within five months after your staging date
Five months after you’ve reached your staging date, you must complete a declaration of compliance form on The Pensions Regulator’s website.
This tells the regulator how you have met your legal duties. If you don’t complete it on time or the information you submit isn’t correct, you could be fined. The Pensions Regulator’s website includes a declaration checklist showing all the information you’ll need and where you can get it from.
Step 7: Perform your regular duties
Every month after your staging date (or more often if you pay staff more frequently)
Your auto-enrolment duties don’t end once your staging date has passed. Instead it’s a case of "more of the same", as you’ll basically need to perform steps 3-6 regularly for as long as you continue to employ people.
- Assess your staff (every pay period)
- Add/remove staff from your scheme
- Make pension contributions
1. Assess your staff (every pay period)
Every time you pay an employee you haven’t needed to automatically enrol before (including new staff members), you’ll need to assess them – just as you did on your staging date.
If any employees are now an eligible jobholder, you’ll need to either automatically enrol them into your scheme or use postponement for them.
Employees are most likely to become eligible when their pay changes or they pass their 22nd birthday.
You must then write to these employees within six weeks of when they were assessed.
2. Add/remove staff from your scheme
Adding staff to your scheme
Anyone who’s been assessed as an eligible jobholder will need to be automatically enrolled into your scheme, unless you’re using postponement for them. You’ll also need to remember to enrol any employees who’ve asked to join your scheme, too.
You do this in the same way as we described in step 4. Simply send us what’s called a ’New joiner file’ using our online scheme management system. We’ll provide full support, explaining how to do this after you’ve applied to set up your scheme.
If employees ask to join your scheme (as opposed to being automatically enrolled), they should be put into it at the start of the next pay period.
Dealing with employees who opt out of your scheme
If any of your staff who have been automatically enrolled choose to leave your scheme within a month of being put into it, it’s called ’opting out’.
Within one month of their request, you have to remove them from your scheme, stop taking contributions from their pay, and arrange a full refund of what they’ve paid to date. If they ask to leave the scheme after this date any payments already made will remain in the pension plan.
We’ll provide full support, explaining how to do this once you’ve applied to set up your scheme.
3. Make pension contributions
As we mentioned in step 4, every time you pay your staff you’ll need to calculate how much to contribute for any eligible and non-eligible jobholders who are in your scheme (plus any entitled workers, if you’ve chosen to pay for them).
Once you’ve calculated the correct pension contributions, you’ll need to upload a ’payment file’ using our online scheme management system so that we can allocate the correct amount to each employee. Again, we’ll provide you with full support, explaining how to do this.
Step 8: Other tasks you’ll need to perform
Along with the regular tasks you’ll need to perform, there are a few other activities you’ll need to keep on top of.
- Keep records (on-going)
- Re-certify (at least every 18 months)
- Automatic re-enrolment (every three years)
1. Keep records (on-going)
By law, you must keep records of how you’ve met your legal duties. These include
- the names and addresses of those you’ve put into your pension scheme
- records showing when money was paid into your pension scheme
- records of any requests to join or leave your pension scheme
- your pension scheme reference number.
You must keep these records for six years, except for requests to leave the pension scheme, which you’ll need to keep for four years.
2. Re-certify (at least every 18 months)
If you’re calculating your pension contributions based on something other than qualifying earnings, you’ll need to complete a certificate at least every 18 months. The purpose of doing this is to tell The Pensions Regulator that you’re paying at least the minimum contribution levels required by law.
You can find a template for the certificate you need to fill out in this Department for Work and Pensions guide
3. Automatic re-enrolment (every three years)
Around the third anniversary of your staging date, you’ll need to repeat some of the duties you performed on it. This is called automatic re-enrolment. Basically, you must make sure any eligible jobholder who’ve previously opted out of your scheme are put back into it.
You’ll have three months either side of the third anniversary of your staging date in which to choose your re-enrolment date. This gives you six months in which you can choose a re-enrolment date, but you must have the same one for all staff you have to re-enrol.
You can’t use postponement at re-enrolment.
Company Pension from Aviva is great value, easy for you to run and designed for auto-enrolment.