Are you in the queue for pension auto-enrolment

By October this year, companies with 30 – 60 employees on 1 April 2012 will need to enroll with all remaining companies enrolling between October 2015 and April 2017.

As you can see from the Pension Regulator chart on staging dates on the right, from January 2016 there are many small businesses due to enroll every quarter, peaking at 216,000 between January 2017 and March 2017.

The message was clear:-

  • Companies need to be ahead of the queue
  • Some providers are offering discounts for signing up early to avoid the peak
  • NEST (the Government provider) cannot turn any company away but you still need to get in their queue
  • NEST may not be what you want and it does not provide such an extensive service as other providers with the result that you may need to do more of the work yourself
  • Don’t assume that every pension provider will accept your scheme, as providers may be more choosey as the volumes increase

So my best advice is to start thinking about it NOW, and get in the queue before it is too late.  If you don’t comply by your staging date there is an immediate fine of £400 followed by a further fine of £500 per day, if you are not compliant after the fixed penalty notice had been issued.

So what do you have to do to get yourself organised? Below is a brief summary of what you need to do:-

1. Preparing initial plans (2 – 4 weeks to develop ) - 12 months prior to staging date

You need to know when your staging date is and develop an action plan starting 12 months before the date to ensure you are ready on time.

You will need to decide who is going to manage the process to get you enrolled initially and who will undertake your responsibilities on an ongoing basis (payroll, HR, Office Manager, third party, etc.). You will also need to investigate whether any current pension scheme is compatible and decide how much you are going to pay in to the pension scheme.

2. Who to Enrol (one day to complete) – 11 – 9 months prior

You need to undertake an assessment of all PAYE staff to determine if they will qualify automatically for auto enrolment or whether they can ‘opt in’ or ‘request’ to join.  Each of these three categories will need to be organised differently for enrolment purposes.

You also need to consider any other workers and contractors the business employs and decide if they are ‘personal services workers’.  If you have individuals with a contract to perform work or services personally to your business and they are not undertaking the work as part of their own business then you may have to enrol them as well.

3. Getting your systems in place (11-8 months prior)

You will need to check whether your current payroll software or provider can support auto-enrolment?If not, you may be able to purchase add-on products that will integrate with your current system or you will need to find a pension provider that can help?

Once you have a system in place then you will need to test the systems to ensure they perform the required functions.

4. Choose a pension provider (11-4 months prior)

If you already have a pension scheme – you will need to decide if it is compatible and whether you want to carry on using it.

If you don't have a pension scheme – you need to choose a scheme that provides good retirement incomes for staff and get agreement from the scheme that they will be ready from your staging date to accept all the staff you need to enrol.

Once you have decided on your scheme then you need to find out what information the provider will need from you, and when, in order to get you enrolled on time.

5. Tell staff (10 months)

It is a good idea to start communicating to your staff early on, to raise general awareness about its arrival, how they'll be affected and the costs involved.

6. Check records (2 months prior)

You need to ensure that all staff records are up to date and then provide this information to your pension scheme in the correct format.

If you need any help to get getting ready then click here to get in contact.