If you’re an employer you may have auto-enrolment duties no matter what type of business you have. Here’s our guide to getting started with auto-enrolment, to help if you need to set up a workplace pension scheme for the first time.
Auto-enrolment guide for new employers
Employing someone for the first time? Read on for an overview of what you need to know.
By law, any employee who is 22 years old or over (but under State Pension age) and earns more than £10,000 a year (for the current tax year) must be put into a pension scheme.
An employer must have a workplace pension scheme set up ready for them, and they’ll need to pay into it too.
This requires every employer to:
- offer a qualifying workplace pension scheme to their workers
- put certain staff into their chosen scheme and pay a minimum level of contribution
- provide information to their other employees about the right to join the scheme.
What you need to do to meet your auto-enrolment duties
- Choose a pension scheme that can be used for auto-enrolment
- Work out who you need to put into the pension scheme
- Link with your payroll system, if you have one
- Communicate with your employees
Download our quick auto-enrolment guide: Launching a workplace pension?
Which employees do I need to automatically enrol?
Auto-enrolment duties apply even if an employer only employs one person as a personal assistant, or an individual directly hires someone to look after their children, for example.
Auto-enrolment duties start date
The point at which auto-enrolment applies to employers is called the ‘duties start date’.
From the date your duties start, your company will put certain members of staff (known as ‘eligible jobholders’) into a suitable workplace pension scheme and start making contributions to their pension pots.
If you’re a new employer soon to employ staff for the first time…
If you’re employing staff for the first time, you’ll need to start meeting your auto-enrolment duties straight away – from the first day your first member of staff starts working for you.
So as soon as you know you want to hire your first employee, you should start preparing for this to work out what you’ll need to do.
If you’re an established employer…
If you set up your PAYE scheme on or before 30 September 2017, you’ll have a ‘staging date’. This is when you need to start meeting your auto-enrolment duties.
You can check your staging date on The Pensions Regulator’s website. Just enter your PAYE reference.
Find out my company’s staging date
Download our automatic enrolment guide, which includes details of who needs to be enrolled: Quick guide: Launching a workplace pension?
Or you could enrol all of your employees to keep things simple – known as ‘contractual auto-enrolment’:
Getting set up with The People’s Pension: 2 options
Option 1: Simply Tailor
We provide a full choice of set-up options, allowing for a tailored solution.
- Option to postpone putting employees into a pension scheme
- Allows variation in the amounts paid in for different employees
- Suitable whether employees are paid weekly, fortnightly, monthly or other
- Allows the addition of subsidiary companies
Option 2: Simply Comply
We complete as much of the account set-up as possible, to make it easier to sign up.
- Fast-track option that takes just a few minutes
- Set up to accept minimum payments based on employee earnings
- Suitable if employees are paid weekly or monthly
Both routes come with our full support
- Friendly UK contact teams who are just a phone call away, 8.30am-5.30pm Monday to Friday
- Online help and support, how-to videos and downloadable guides
- Training mode for employers to practice data uploads once registered
All for a one-off set-up charge
It’s one payment of £500 + VAT. Or there’s a reduced charge of £300 + VAT for employers who sign up with a business adviser (a financial adviser, accountant, bookkeeper or payroll provider).
If the adviser registers with us (for free) they can give employers a reduced charge code, and they can get an adviser account to help employers sign up.
Missed your auto-enrolment date?
Ideally employers should set up a workplace pension scheme before the start date of their auto-enrolment duties. But don’t worry, it’s not too late!
In a few simple steps we can help you set up a compliant workplace pension scheme. It’s important to act now, as The Pensions Regulator can hand out heavy fines to employers that don’t comply with the law.
Get set up as quickly as possible
- If you’re within 6 weeks of your duties start date, our Simply Tailor set-up route allows some duties to be postponed.
- If you’re 6 weeks or more past your staging/duties start date, the quickest and simplest way is to use our Simply Comply set-up route, or you can use Simply Tailor for a more tailored set-up.
Contact The Pensions Regulator
You need to let The Pensions Regulator know that we’ll be providing a pension scheme for the business you’re signing up. Give them a call on 0345 600 1011 and have the company’s PAYE reference number to hand.
- The Pensions Regulator fines businesses who don’t meet their legal duties, like missing their staging/duties start date.
- They treat each case differently though, so getting in touch quickly may help.
Communicate with employees
We have template letters for this – one for our Simply Tailor sign-up and one for our Simply Comply sign-up.
Get up to date
The Pensions Regulator will ask for any missed pension contributions to be backdated to the missed staging/duties start date. Need help? Just give us a call on 01293 586666 and select option 2.
Six steps to auto-enrolment
Setting up your workplace pension with us is simple. So you can get on with what’s important to you – running your business.
Here’s our step-by-step auto-enrolment guide to getting set up…
1: Find out when your auto-enrolment duties start
If you set up your PAYE scheme on or before 30 September 2017, you’ll have a ‘staging date’. This is when you need to begin meeting your automatic enrolment duties.
You can check your staging date on The Pensions Regulator’s website. Just enter your PAYE reference.
If you’re employing staff for the first time, you’ll need to start complying with the automatic enrolment duties immediately – from the first day your first member of staff starts working for you.
You’ll need to assess your employees to see if any of them meet the age and earnings criteria to be put into a pension scheme.
2: Check your payroll software is up to speed
Most payroll software is compatible with automatic enrolment and will work out who you need to put into a pension scheme for you. In some cases, you may need to make some changes to your payroll software.
You can submit your employee data to us easily and securely so we can allocate pension contributions into employee pension savings. You can enter this data yourself or you might be able to submit it to us automatically from your payroll software provider – you’ll need to speak to your payroll software provider about this option.
Want to know who’ll need to be put into your pension scheme?
Download our workplace pension employers’ guide: Launching a workplace pension?
3: Sign up with The People’s Pension online
When you’re ready, sign up with us online. It’s quick, easy and there’s plenty of help along the way.
Watch our video about getting set up with The People’s Pension.
4: Communicate the changes to your employees
It’s a good idea to tell all your employees what’s happening. You’ll need to also tell those who don’t need to be automatically put into the pension scheme, as they’ll still have the option to join if they want to.
And you’ll need to tell your employees if you’re using postponement.
We can help with that.
5: Log into Online Services
Once you’re all set up, you can log into Online Services to manage your account.
This is where you submit your employee data every pay period – including new starters and employees who have asked to join.
It’s also where you add money to staff pension pots and oversee any members of staff who want to leave the scheme. Your payroll should also monitor employee ages and earnings to make sure you’re paying the right amounts, and that you’ve enrolled everyone who needs to be in the pension scheme.
6: Complete your declaration of compliance with The Pensions Regulator
The final step is to complete your declaration of compliance with The Pensions Regulator within 5 calendar months of the start of auto-enrolment duties.
We can help inform the regulator for you.
You’ll find the pension scheme details you need to do this by logging into your Online Services account. And choose whether you want us to help inform them or you want to do it yourself directly.
Advisers: Helping your clients get set up
Our Adviser Centre helps you to help your clients. Set up and manage multiple clients from one simple login using our secure online system.
Our fast track set-up and simplified online system is ideal for clients who need your support at implementation and beyond, but are happy to manage the ongoing administration, leaving you more time to help additional clients.
Streamlined employee data transfer and administration saves you time, ongoing costs and helps make your clients’ lives easier too.
Reduced charge code
If you’re supporting a client with automatic enrolment, they can benefit from a one-off reduced charge – no matter which way they choose to sign up to The People’s Pension.
The charge (£300 + VAT) can be paid by debit card, credit card or Direct Debit.
Get your code to share with your client
To ensure your clients benefit from this reduced charge you need to get a code and share it with your clients.
Your code can only be accessed by you in a secure area, using a password. If you forget it, don’t worry – you can easily retrieve it.
Any problems with your reduced charge code, drop us a line and we’ll get it sorted right away.
The employer pays the charge – there’s no cost to you. (Although you can choose to pay the charge on behalf of the employer.)
We’re here to help
We’re here for you Monday to Friday 8.30am to 5.30pm – on the phone or by email.