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Who do I need to auto enrol?

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.

Who is eligible for auto enrolment?

You’ll need to assess your staff on the day your auto enrolment duties begin to know who you need to auto-enrol. Your auto enrolment duties start at the same time as your PAYE duties. But if you carry out an initial assessment in advance, you’ll get a better idea of what your auto-enrolment duties might involve.

You will need to auto-enrol any of your workers who:

  • Are at least 22 years old, but under State Pension age
  • Earn more than £10,000 a year
  • Normally work in the UK
  • Are not already part of a qualifying workplace pension scheme

Assessing your staff

Employees in different situations have different rights under auto enrolment rules. Whether or not 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.

You may want assistance when it comes to assessing your staff and meeting your other auto enrolment duties. If you use either payroll software or a payroll bureau, they might be able to offer support and/or carry out the assessment for you. (Please check with your chosen service provider.) You’ll also need to send out information to your employees, so make sure that your payroll software can help with this.

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 to assess your 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.

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 in to 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

Who do I need to auto enrol?

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

  1. Eligible jobholders – employees who must be auto-enrolled
  2. Non-eligible jobholders or entitled workers – employees who can opt-in or join your pension scheme if they would like to

To help you work out which of your employees fall into these categories, we've put together this table to make it clearer.  The details shown below are for the tax year 2019/2020.

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
OR:
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.

For some groups of employees, it might be worth postponing when you assess them for auto enrolment.