Starting from October 2012, up to 11 million workers will be automatically enrolled into a workplace pension. Larger employers will go first, with small and medium sized employers following over the next six years. A workplace pension is a way of saving for retirement arranged by an individual’s employer. It is sometimes called a ‘company pension’, an ‘occupational pension’ or a ‘works pension’.
Employers will automatically enrol workers into a workplace pension who:
- are not already in a qualifying pension scheme
- are aged 22 or over
- are under State Pension age
- earn more than £10,000 pa and work or usually work in the UK.
Automatic enrolment into a workplace pension is a hassle free way for workers to save for their retirement whilst they earn, but business owners do need assistance to decide the best way to comply with the new rules.
When do employers have to start enrolling their workers? The date workers are enrolled depends on the size of the company they work for and is being rolled out over the next six years (this is called a staging date).
- Large employers (with 250 or more workers), will have to start automatically enrolling their workers from October 2012 to February 2014 (some employers may choose to start earlier)
- Medium employers (50 – 249 workers) will have to start automatically enrolling their workers from April 2014 to April 2015
- Small employers (49 workers or less) will have to start automatically enrolling their workers from June 2015 to April 2017
- New employers (established after April 2012) will have to start automatically enrolling their workers from May 2017 to February 2018
- Employers who chose to use Defined Benefit or Hybrid Schemes can delay their staging date until 30 September 2017
Once The Pensions Regulator has notified employers of their date to enrol eligible workers into a workplace pension, employers can choose to postpone automatic enrolment for up to three months from that date. If they choose to postpone, employers must inform those workers in writing. Employers can also use the ‘postponement period’ for any newly eligible workers.