Who is eligible for auto-enrolment?

You will need to assess your staff on your staging date to know who will be eligible for enrolment.

However, if you carry out an initial assessment in advance, it will give you an idea of what your auto-enrolment duties are likely to involve and give you a chance to prepare.

Assessing your staff

Different employees have different rights under auto-enrolment rules. Whether your employees are eligible for auto-enrolment will depend on their age and how much they earn. Auto-enrolment only applies to staff who work in the UK.

If you use payroll software, it may be able to assess your employees’ eligibility for automatic enrolment for you. Alternatively, your scheme administrator could do this process manually or if you use a payroll bureau, it’s worth checking if this is a service that they offer.

Don't forget that the first assessment that really counts is the one you do on your staging date: none of the earlier ones can replace that.

How often will I need to assess my staff

Assessing your staff members to see who is eligible will be an on-going duty. Each month, you will need to tell us:

Who is eligible for automatic enrolment?

There are two main categories employees fall into which will determine whether they need to be put into a pension scheme:

  1. Eligible Jobholders (employees who must be automatically enrolled)
  2. Non-eligible jobholders or entitled workers (employees who can opt-in or join your pension scheme if they wish to)

Here’s a table to show which of your employees fall into these categories and the duties you need to perform.

Must be auto-enrolled Can become a member of the pension scheme if they ask
Aged 22 to state pension age
Earns £10,000 a year or more
Aged 16-21 or state pension age to 74
Earns £10,000 a year or more


Aged 22 to state pension age
Earns between £5,876 and £10,000 a year
Aged 16 to 74
Earns less than £5,876 a year
Will need to be auto-enrolled and you must contribute to their pension pot.

(Also known as eligible jobholders.)
Can opt-in if they ask. If they do opt-in, you must contribute to their pension pot.

(Also known as non-eligible jobholders.)
Can join the pension scheme if they ask. If they join, you don’t have to make contributions to their pension pot, but you can if you want to.

(Also known as entitled workers.)

What if I have employees with variable earnings or employ part-time or temporary staff?

Part-time and temporary staff will need to be assessed using the same eligibility criteria that you would use for the rest of your employees.

If you employ someone on a part-time or temporary basis, and their monthly earnings are above the minimum amount required for automatic-enrolment, you will still need to auto-enrol them in your workplace pension scheme. If they don’t meet the minimum thresholds required for auto-enrolment, they maintain the same rights to opt-in or join your pension scheme as all other employees.

If any of your employees have variable earnings or their earnings fluctuate, in a month where their wages increase above the monthly minimum for auto-enrolment they will be automatically-enrolled in your pension scheme. They will then remain a member of the pension scheme going forwards. Further contributions may or may not be due depending on their future pay and the basis on which you are calculating contributions.

If any of your part-time and temporary staff or staff on variable earnings do not wish to be a member of your workplace pension scheme, they can opt-out.

For some groups of employees, it may be worth postponing when you assess them for auto-enrolment. You can find out more about postponement here.