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You asked: Do I need to contribute if an employee earns too little to be auto-enrolled but decides to join the pension scheme?

You have to pay at least the minimum qualifying contributions for any employee aged between 16 and 75 who:

If the employee earns less than the contributions threshold and the scheme's contributions are based on banded earnings, you are not liable to make any employer contribution at all, though you would still collect the employee's own contributions.

If the employee earns less than the contributions threshold and the scheme's contributions are based on pensionable earnings, you will normally have to make employer contributions. But you won't have to so if you have an agreement with your employees that you won't contribute for earnings below the contributions threshold.

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