What to do if you are late setting up a workplace pension

It’s a good idea to start preparing for auto enrolment before you need to set up your scheme, but we know this is sometimes easier said than done. So, if you’ve left auto enrolment to the last minute – or missed your duties start date altogether – here’s what you should do.

Four things to do if you’ve missed your duties start date

1. Set up your scheme as soon as possible 

If you’re already behind with auto enrolment, you should get back on track as soon as possible. The Pensions Regulator would normally expect you to make up any missing employer contributions and to give your employees the opportunity to make up the contributions they’ve missed. You’ll also need to think about the impact on any salary exchange (sacrifice) agreements you may have in place. It’s possible that The Pensions Regulator may require you to make up all missing contributions.

Delays could result in escalating fines from The Pensions Regulator. The longer you ignore auto enrolment, the more it could cost you.

2. Contact The Pensions Regulator

The Pensions Regulator is more willing to work with employers who are actively working to meet their auto enrolment duties than those who appear to ignore them. So if you’ve missed your duties start date, contact them as soon as possible to let them know when you expect to be able to fulfil your duties. Visit The Pensions Regulator’s website for full contact details – and make sure that you have your company’s PAYE reference to hand when you get in touch.

The Pensions Regulator is more likely to fine you or impose other penalties if you don't take any action.

3. Tell your employees

Let your employees know that their employer pension contributions will be backdated, and give them details of the workplace pension scheme you're providing. 

As well as making up the employer contributions you missed, you’ll also need to tell your employees how you’re going to treat the employee pension contributions which they will also have missed. This means you’ll need to decide whether you want to pay the contributions your employees would normally have paid, or leave it to them to decide whether they wish to pay the missed contributions.

We recommend seeking legal advice if you’re looking to allow your employees to choose for themselves. This is because The Pensions Regulator may decide that you’re liable to make up the full value of all missed contributions since you didn’t make the necessary arrangements for employee contributions to be deducted from their salaries when they were due.

If you’d like some extra support, it might also be worth speaking to a business adviser.

4. Check your auto enrolment software

Not all auto enrolment software is suitable if you’re late for your duties start date. If you’re unsure whether you’ll get set up in time or you’re late setting up your scheme, you’ll need to check with your software provider to see if yours will still be fully functional.

What to do if you’ve left it to the last minute

If you’re within six weeks of needing to start up your scheme and you haven’t got a plan in place for starting the auto enrolment process, don’t panic. There’s still time – and we can help you get up and running.

How Aviva can help you set up a scheme

Aviva provide an easy-to-use scheme management system, plus handy online tools and all the help and support you need to reduce the hassle of auto enrolment.

It’s simple to get a quote and you can find out how much your workplace pension scheme will cost in less than ten minutes.

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.

Aviva Workplace Pension

Our workplace pension is designed to give you a scheme that’s easy to set up and administer, ideal for your auto enrolment needs.

Find out about the Aviva Workplace Pension


Get a quote and see how Aviva can help you and your business.


Find out how we can help you support your clients with auto enrolment.