Help and support

Search our knowledge base for answers

Do I have to enrol staff if they have a one-off increase in wages?

After your staging/duties start date, staff who work irregular hours or earn flexible incomes should be enrolled the first time* they earn over the auto-enrolment threshold of £192 a week or £833 a month if paid monthly.

Once staff have been enrolled, you must pay regular contributions into their pension scheme (unless they’ve decided to opt out). If the staff member’s earnings fall below £120 a week or £520 a month, you may stop paying contributions unless the rules of the pension scheme they have enrolled into require them to continue.


* Note that under the postponement rules, you can delay enrolling staff into the pension scheme when they first meet the criteria to be an eligible jobholder for up to three months.

Which employees can ask to join?

Not all employees have to be put into a pension scheme automatically, but they can still ask to join. Whether they’re enrolled automatically or not depends on how much they earn, their age and whether they normally work in the UK.

If they’re enrolled automatically they’re known as ‘Eligible jobholders’ .

Then there are two categories for the employees who can ask to join:


What do I do if no employee needs to be auto-enrolled?

You only need an auto-enrolment pension scheme in place by your staging date if there’s someone to auto-erol enrol on this date. If there’s no one who needs to be auto-enrolled then there’s no need to have a pension scheme in place.  However, it may be useful to decide, before your staging date, which pension scheme would be used if the person or people you employ actually need to be enrolled (or ask to join).

Even if there are no employees to be auto-enrolled, you will still have a duty to write to your employees and complete your declaration of compliance.


If I have carers do I have to comply with auto-enrolment duties?

If you employ the carer you need to comply; and if you and others employ the carer you are each responsible based on the earnings you each pay them. If the carer works for an agency or their own limited company that agency/company are responsible for complying with auto-enrolment duties.

If they’re self-employed there are criteria to decide whether duties still apply. Does the carer:

  • have control of the hours they work?
  • have their own public liability insurance?
  • provide care services for other people?
  • register themselves as self-employed with HMRC?
  • not get paid when on holiday or unable to work due to sickness?

If most or all of the above are true, it would be reasonable to consider that they’re undertaking the work as part of their own business. If they’re undertaking the work as part of their own business, they can be considered ‘truly self-employed’ and aren’t subject to auto-enrolment.

What are the auto-enrolment duties for enrolling directors?

According to The Pensions Regulator, an employer has the option to enrol a director into a workplace pension if they’re eligible for auto-enrolment. But they don’t have to.

The regulator’s definition of a director

A director refers to anyone who holds office as a director. Under the Companies Act 2006, a person is viewed as a director if:

  • they’ve been formally appointed
  • they’re in a decision-making role which relates to the governance of a company as a director (who may not necessarily be formally appointed).

If a person just has ‘director’ in their job title, this wouldn’t count.

A director would be viewed as eligible for auto-enrolment if:

  • they’ve an employment contract with the company (this can be a written, verbal or implied contract)
  • there’s at least one other person who has an employment contract with the company.

If an employer chooses to not enrol a director, they’ll still need to communicate to them and complete their declaration of compliance.

A director still has the right to opt in or join a workplace pension. If they make this request, the employer must enrol them (unless they’re in their notice period). If a director is enrolled, the employer’s auto-enrolment duties apply.

For more information about enrolling directors into a workplace pension, visit The Pensions Regulator’s website.


If an employee is leaving do I have to auto-enrol them?

You may apply postponement to the employee meaning they don’t need to be auto-enrolled up to three months taking them after their leave date. You are allowed under legislation to enrol them if you wish to do so, however, for an employee who is leaving you will need to decide whether it is worth doing so.