What’s an opt-in or joining notice?

All employees aged 16-74 have the right to opt in or join a pension scheme by using an opt-in or joining notice. To make sure these employees understand their rights to opt in or join the pension scheme, you should write to them:

  • when you reach your duties start date, or
  • when a new starter begins with your company, or
  • when an employee turns 16 years old.

Our template letters can be used for this:

It records that the employee requested to join the pension scheme. It’s important that employees assessed as Non Eligible jobholders and Entitled workers send you a valid notice before you add them to the pension scheme.

Opt-in or joining notices can be in email or letter form

Both an opt-in or joining notice must be:

  • in writing – but doesn’t have to be a formal document. It can be a letter or an email.
  • signed by the employee submitting it. If it was sent by email, it must include a statement from the employee confirming that they personally submitted the notice.

How long should employers keep opt-in/joining notices for?

TPR states opt-in and joining notices must be kept by the employer in their original form for 6 years.

Please note, we don’t handle opt-in notices directly and will not retain them when sent in error. Instead, we’ll direct any employees back to their employer.

What to do after you’ve received an opt-in or joining notice

Firstly, you should check this is a valid opt-in or joining notice. Has it been signed if it is in letter form? If an email, does it clearly state it comes from your employee? If it is valid, you should make arrangements to enroll your employee into the pension scheme. You can usually do this through your payroll software.

Entitled workers can ask to join your pension scheme, but you don’t need to pay money into their pension pots unless you’d like to.

Non-Eligible employees must receive an employer contribution and meet the minimum contribution levels.

When can an opt-in or joining notice be rejected?

If the notice is given within 12 months of a previous opt in notice, and your employee has then stopped membership of the pension scheme, you’re not required to add them to the pension scheme, although you can choose to if you’d like.

Similarly, if an Eligible employee has opted out and then asks to re-join, you’re not required to accept this more than once in a 12-month period.

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