As an employer, it’s up to you to assess your staff and enrol all employees who meet certain criteria into your workplace pension scheme. But who does this include?
Who’s eligible for auto enrolment?
You’ll need to assess your staff on your duties start date. This is the day your first member of staff joins the company. You can’t change this date, but if you carry out an initial assessment in advance, you’ll get a better idea of what your auto enrolment duties might involve.
To be eligible for auto enrolment, employees must:
- Be at least 22 years old, but under State Pension age
- Earn more than £10,000 a year
- Normally work in the UK
- Not already be part of a qualifying workplace pension scheme.
What do I need to think about?
Employees in different situations have different rights under auto enrolment rules. Whether you’re required to auto-enrol an employee depends on their age and how much they earn. Auto enrolment also only applies to staff who work in the UK.
If you use payroll software, it may be able to assess which employees you need to auto-enrol. You should speak to your software provider if you need more information about how it can support you. You’ll also need to send out information to your employees, so make sure that your payroll software can help with this. Alternatively, your scheme administrator can complete this process manually on your behalf.
Don’t forget, the first assessment you do on your duties start date is the one that really counts. None of the earlier ones can replace that.
When do I need to assess my staff?
Assessing your employees is an ongoing duty, and you need to assess all employees that you haven’t already auto enrolled each time you pay them. This might sound to be a bit of a burden – but, again, the right software can make the task easier.
Every month, you’ll need to tell us:
- If you’ve employed any new members of staff that you need to auto-enrol
- If any of your employees have opted into your workplace pension scheme
- When an increase in an employee’s wages means that they meet the auto enrolment eligibility criteria
- If any of your employees have turned 22 and meet the auto-enrolment eligibility criteria
What happens when new staff join the business?
Your auto enrolment duties for new employees start at the same time as their first employment contract. This is the same time as your PAYE duties.
You may be able to delay assessing your employees’ eligibility for up to three months. Called postponement, this may be an option worth considering if your new staff normally go through a probation period.
Which employees can choose to opt in?
By law, all eligible jobholders must be auto enrolled into your pension scheme. But in addition to these people, other non-eligible jobholders or entitled workers have the right to join the scheme if they want to.
We’ve put together a table to make it clearer which categories your employees fall into. The details shown are for the 2019/2020 tax year.
|Must be auto enrolled||Can become a member 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 £6,136 and £10,000 a year
|Aged 16 to 74 |
Earns less than £6,136 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)
Part time or temporary staff
Part time and temporary staff need to be assessed using the same eligibility criteria as 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 auto enrolment, you’ll still need to auto enrol them onto your workplace pension scheme. If they don’t meet the minimum criteria required for auto enrolment, they maintain the same rights to opt-in or join your pension scheme as all other employees.
Employees with variable earnings
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’ll be auto-enrolled onto your pension scheme. They’ll then remain members of the pension scheme. Further contributions may or may not be due depending on their future pay and the basis on which you’re calculating contributions.
If any of your part time or temporary employees or staff on variable earnings don’t wish to be a member of your workplace pension scheme, they can opt-out.
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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