Workplace pension contributions

Payments made into a pension are called contributions. With a workplace pension, like The People’s Pension, contributions normally come from three sources: the employee, the employer and the government. As an employee, you can always increase your pension contributions if you want to.

How do pension contributions work?

Payments made into a pension are called contributions.

When an employer automatically enrols an employee into a pension (like The People’s Pension), by law there are set minimum contribution levels.

These contributions are completely separate from the State Pension which, at £9,110.40 a year or £175.20 a week currently (based on someone reaching State Pension age on or after 6 April 2016 with a full National Insurance record), is likely to need topping up for most to enjoy a more comfortable retirement.

Benefits of paying into your pension pot

The money you put into your pension pot is topped up by your employer and the government – it includes extra ‘free’ money and is a great way to add to your retirement savings!

If you stop your contributions, your employer may also stop paying in too.

Did you know? Research from the Money Advice Service shows that the maximum basic State Pension is far below what most people hope to retire on.

State Pension is currently around £175.20* a week – could you manage on that alone?

Here are some benefits of a workplace pension:

  • Your workplace pension gives you your own pension that belongs to you – even if you leave your job in the future, it’s yours to keep.
  • Each pay period when you pay into it, your employer does too and the government lets you hold on to some of your tax to help you build a bigger pot. That’s free ‘extra’ money, meaning more saved towards a more comfortable retirement. Here’s an example** if you were paying in contributions of £40 per month:
  • Your workplace pension pot is completely separate from the State Pension, and a good way to top up your retirement income.
  • The return on your pension savings is likely to be better than from any savings in your bank account. So it’s wise to start saving now to give your money a better chance to grow!
  • If you stop your contributions your employer may stop paying in too. So, don’t lose out.

Your pension contributions increased from April 2019, with both you and your employer paying in more, to bring the minimum amounts paid into your pension account up to a total of 8% of your qualifying earnings.

More about the increase to minimum pension contributions

*The State Pension amount of £175.20 a week is based on someone reaching State Pension age on or after 6 April 2016 with a full National Insurance record. Find out more about different types of pension

**The example in the table above shows what happens when contributions are made after tax, and tax relief is claimed for you. Higher rate and additional taxpayers may need to claim further tax relief through their tax returns. The calculation will differ where contributions are made before tax has been taken and tax relief is received automatically. Find out more about tax relief

Check what’s in your pension pot

You’ll receive an annual statement in your Online Account showing the value that you hold in The People’s Pension.

But you can check, any time, how much is in your pot by logging in to your Online Account. This will help you keep track of how your investments are doing and give you an idea how much you might have when you retire.

Check how much you need to save for retirement

Use our calculators to check how much you’ll need:

Our life expectancy calculator can give you an idea of how long your pension savings will need to last.

Our future budget calculator can help you check whether you need to save more into your pension to cover your costs in retirement – and if so, how much.

Paying more into your workplace pension

If you can afford to, you should think about saving more.

The more you pay in, the more tax relief you’ll get from the government and the more you could get back when you retire.

More about tax relief

How to increase your pension contributions

If you want to increase your payments, talk to your employer first to see if they can set up the extra payments on your behalf.

If your employer cannot do this for you, then contact us.

You can always reduce your pension contributions back to the minimum amounts if things change and you don’t have enough spare cash each month.

Additional voluntary contributions to your pension pot

You can also set up and/or change extra personal payments into your pension by Direct Debit. This makes saving more for your retirement even easier.

More about making personal payments and the forms to complete

Or log in to your Online Account

Maximum pension contributions

Under HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) rules there is a limit on the total amount you can save each tax year into all registered pension schemes and the tax relief you receive on your contributions. The maximum is 100% of your earnings (up to the annual allowance) or £3,600 gross, whichever is higher.

The annual allowance limit for the current tax year is £40,000. This limit includes all your contributions, tax relief and employer contributions across all your pension arrangements. If you go over this limit, this will result in a tax charge, known as the annual allowance charge.

If your workplace pension is your only source of income when you retire, apart from your State Pension, and you and your employer are only paying the pension contributions required by law, it’s quite likely this won’t be enough for a comfortable retirement.

Employer pension contributions

As an employer, you’re required to contribute to your employees’ pension pots on a regular basis, from the date your auto-enrolment duties start. So how much do you need to pay currently and in the future?

Pensionable earnings

How much you need to pay depends on how much each employee earns.

You don’t pay anything on the first £6,240 they earn a year, or on anything they earn above £50,000 a year. What you do pay is at least 3% of any earnings in between those two figures.

So, if they earn £16,240 a year, you have to pay at least 3% of £10,000. These payments are known as ‘contributions’ and a minimum contribution amount is set by the government each year.

Minimum pension contributions

The minimum contributions have been introduced in stages.

As an employer, you have to make the ‘Employer minimum contribution’ shown below, and then the total contribution is reached by adding the employee’s contribution (deducted from their earnings) and tax relief from the government.

However, if you wish you can choose to pay the full amount yourself so your employees don’t have to.

Employer minimum contribution Employee contribution Tax relief on employee contribution Total minimum contribution
Until 5 April 2019 2% 2.4% 0.6% 5%
6 April 2019 onwards 3% 4% 1% 8%

Source: Money Advice Service workplace pension contribution calculator

More about the increase to minimum pension contributions

Tax and pension contributions

To help employees save for retirement, the government usually provides tax relief on the contributions they pay into their pension savings.

Tax relief is available on employee’s pension savings up to a standard limit known as the annual allowance, but their exact annual allowance depends on how much they earn.

Employers need to check that they’ve applied the same tax relief settings to their employees’ pension contributions on their payroll and on your pension scheme. 

More about tax relief

Your pension contribution options with The People’s Pension

There are two ways you can sign up for The People’s Pension, which have different approaches to paying into employee pension pots.