Your organisation will have a ‘staging date’ – this is when you need to start meeting your auto-enrolment duties. This is the date you have to work out which of your employees you must put into a pension scheme that can be used for auto-enrolment. Your staging date depends on the size of your largest PAYE scheme as at 1 April 2012. The Pensions Regulator will have written to you around 12 months ahead of your staging date.
All organisations which existed before 1 April 2012 have now passed their staging date. Employers who set up a new PAYE scheme between 1 April 2012 and 30 September 2017 are within the final staging phase. These employers will reach their staging date between 1 May 2017 and 1 February 2018, and their staging date will be determined by the date they’ve first paid income to any worker (see the table below)
|PAYE income is first payable in respect of any worker||Staging date|
|From 1 April 2012 up to and including 31 March 2013||1 May 2017|
|From 1 April 2013 up to and including 31 March 2014||1 July 2017|
|From 1 April 2014 up to and including 31 March 2015||1 August 2017|
|From 1 April 2015 up to and including 31 December 2015||1 October 2017|
|From 1 January 2016 up to and including 30 September 2016||1 November 2017|
|From 1 October 2016 up to and including 30 June 2017||1 January 2018|
|From 1 July 2017 up to and including 30 September 2017||1 February 2018|
The easiest way to find out your staging date is to input your company’s PAYE reference at The Pensions Regulator website
Identifying staging dates gets more complicated for those employers who have first employed someone since 2 April 2017, or will first have employed someone on or before 30 September 2017. Such employers will need to be clear on when the business first started, whether there was a PAYE scheme in place when it was started, and when the first worker was engaged.
For employers whose businesses started on or before 1 April 2017 who did not have a PAYE scheme on 1 April – the staging date is 1 April 2017.
For businesses created between 2 April 2017 and 30 September 2017 who had a PAYE scheme in existence before staff were employed, their staging date is:
- 1 January 2018 if the first pay day is between 2 April and 30 June 2017, or;
- 1 February 2018 if the first pay day is 1 July to 30 September 2017.
For businesses created between 2 April 2017 and 30 September 2017 who did not have a PAYE scheme in existence before staff were employed, their duties start on the date the first member of staff is engaged and their staging dates will be treated as starting on:
- 1 January 2018 if they first pay their member of staff between 2 April 2017 and 30 June 2017, or;
- 1 February 2018 if they first pay their member of staff between 1 July 2017 and 30 September 2017.
Useful information can be found on: thepensionsregulator.gov.uk/docs/automatic-enrolment-when-do-employer-duties-start.pdf.
New employers who employ their first staff member on or after 1 October 2017 will need to start complying with automatic enrolment duties immediately. They won’t have a set staging date but they’ll be able to use the three month postponement period*. The automatic enrolment duties apply from the first day the first member of staff started working for them. This is known as their ‘duties start date’.
The Pensions Regulator (TPR) will write to new employers to tell them what they need to do and by when. TPR have also added information and tools to their website for those who are employing staff for the first time.
* For information on the three month postponement period see www.thepensionsregulator.gov.uk/postponement.aspx