Automatic enrolment is a government initiative to help more people save for later life through a pension scheme at work.

In the past, many workers missed out on valuable pension benefits, as their employer didn’t offer them a pension, or they didn’t apply to join their company’s pension scheme.

Auto enrolment changes this, making it compulsory for employers to automatically enrol their eligible workers into a pension scheme.

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What are your responsibilities?

With new updates to the Pensions Act 2008, it’s even more important to ensure you’re up to date with your responsibilities to staff. This new legislation brought in for workplace pensions affects every employer with staff working for them in the UK.

If you pay staff through your payroll, you need to be aware of and meet certain responsibilities. In this guide we will outline these responsibilities and help you understand the process and what this will mean for you and your staff.

Your staging date

If you’re an employer you will have a staging date.

This is the date that your new duties come into force. It’s important to check your staging date and ensure that you make preparations so that you’re ready for the date when it comes around.

If you don’t know your staging date, you can find out when it is here.

If you don’t know your PAYE reference numbers, all you need to do is get in touch with us either via email or by ringing 020 3355 4047 and we’ll be happy to provide them for you.

Choosing a pension provider

If you have employees that need to be auto enrolled (see below for eligibility) or if you have qualifying staff that wish to opt into a pension scheme, then you’ll first need to set one up.

There are many pension providers to choose from, so you may want to consult a financial advisor to see which one would be right for you.

Most of our clients have chosen to use NEST, the scheme which the government have set up especially for auto enrolment.

NEST is free to use and you will automatically be accepted on to the scheme even if you’re a very small business. NEST also works with all payroll providers in the UK, so there’s a great support network should you need it.

From your staging date

From this date you should have ‘assessed’ your employees to see if they should be automatically enrolled. The eligible employees should then be enrolled into the pension scheme and your payroll should be updated to reflect this.

Below you’ll see the criteria for assessing your employees:

Employees under the age of 16 or over 75 are excluded from the auto enrolment process.


For each payroll after the staging date the relevant contributions should be made. You must contribute at least the minimum amount towards the pension scheme, which will increase over time.

The minimum contributions are:

Communicate with each employee

You have a legal obligation to notify each member of staff to tell them how auto enrolment affects them and to inform them of their rights. Each employee has the right to ‘opt out’ of the scheme within 6 weeks of enrolment but they must be automatically re-enrolled every 3rd anniversary of your staging date.

This should be made clear to them so that contributions are not deducted.

Continuous assessment

You must continue to assess your employee’s circumstances in case they cross age or earning thresholds that change their rights. They should then be notified of the changes.

Declaration of compliance

Every employer that is not exempt (usually director only payrolls) must complete a declaration of compliance, whether they are required to set up a pension scheme or not. This can be completed on or shortly after the staging date.

Director only payrolls

If your payroll only consists of directors and there are no employment contracts for those directors then an exemption can be processed. We will do this as a matter of course for our clients that fit these criteria, everything is taken care of without you needing to lift a finger.

Outsourcing to The Accountancy Partnership

If we are completing your payroll or you are unsure if you are able to complete the work involved then it may be a good idea to outsource this work to us. We can take care of the whole process for you for a reasonable fee.

Feel free to get in touch with a member of our team to find out more about outsourcing.

If you have any further questions regarding Auto Enrolment simply phone 020 3355 4047 and of our friendly advisors will be happy to help.

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