Auto enrolment duties start dates explained

Get to grips with auto enrolment duties start dates – including finding out when yours is, what actions you’ll need to take, and what to do if you miss it.

When do my auto enrolment duties start?

Your auto enrolment duties start at the same time as your PAYE duties. This means you’ll need to find out what your auto enrolment duties are, and how you’re going to meet them before your first employment contract starts.

Just so you’re aware, your duties start date is the day your first member of staff joined the company.

What to do if you’re close to your duties start date

If you’ve decided that we’re the right provider for you, get in touch as soon as you can so we can set everything up in time. You’ll also need to contact The Pensions Regulator to keep them up-to-date with what’s happening.

Next steps if you’ve missed your duties start date

If you’ve missed your duties start date, it’s important to take action right away.

You have a legal duty to comply with auto enrolment regulations. If you don’t you could be fined by The Pensions Regulator.

If you don’t already have a workplace pension that’s suitable for auto enrolment, you’ll need to set one up and automatically enrol your eligible staff. You’ll also have to pay any pension contributions that you owe, dating back to your duties start date.

It’s worth noting that you may not be allowed to recover any backdated employee contributions from your employees’ pay, so you might have to pay their contributions as well as your own. In other words, the longer you leave it, the more it could cost you.

You should seek suitable advice if you don’t intend to pay the whole value of missed contributions yourself. You’ll also need to understand how your duties will work if you’re late meeting them. Opt-outs will still work from the point at which the opt-out window opens. And your re-enrolment date will still work from your duties start date, rather than the date you complete the staging process.

See more information on auto enrolment rules, fines and penalties.

How we can help if you’ve missed your duties start date

If you’ve missed your duties start date, we can still set up a workplace pension scheme for you to start now. However, we won’t be able to backdate this to your duties start date. We’ll work with you to help you get back on track with auto enrolment – you’ll have our full support throughout the process.

Auto enrolment software and meeting your duties late

Not all types of software will be suitable if you’re late starting to meet your auto enrolment duties. You’ll need to check with the software provider to find out if it’ll be fully functional.

What happens if you don’t take action

If you’re finding it hard to understand your auto enrolment duties, or you’ve been unable to comply for any reason, The Pensions Regulator can work with you to help – but it’s important to contact them as soon as possible.

If you don’t start taking steps towards complying with auto enrolment regulations, The Pensions Regulator is likely to take action against you, and you may be fined. Find out more about what happens if you don’t comply.

Find out more about auto enrolment

Auto enrolment doesn’t have to be challenging. We’ve got all the information you need to get up and running with your workplace pension scheme.

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