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Automatic Enrolment

Joining

Joining a workplace pension scheme has been made as easy as possible for eligible workers.

How will I join my employer’s workplace pension scheme?

Automatic enrolment is being rolled out, in stages, across all employers. It started with the larger employers first, but, by October 2018, all existing employers will be required to offer workplace pension schemes to eligible workers.

As your employer nears the date that it must offer a workplace pension scheme (called the staging date), your employer should contact you with the options that are available to you.

Not all workers will automatically join the workplace pension scheme. For those that meet the eligibility criteria to join automatically, the member does not need to take any action if they wish to remain in the pension scheme. Other workers who may want to join a workplace pension scheme do need to take action.

Each employer must review its workforce before it reaches its staging date to identify which workers are eligible to join its workplace pension scheme. Workers may fall into one of four categories:

Eligible jobholders

Eligible jobholders will be automatically enrolled into the workplace pension scheme, if they are not already active members of a workplace pension scheme that meets a set of minimum standards. The employer must make pension contributions to the pension scheme and the worker may also have to contribute. Workers who do not want to join the scheme may opt out for a three year period. But, employers are required to continue automatically enrolling eligible workers who’ve opted out, every three years.

Eligible jobholders are workers who:

  • Are aged between 22 and State Pension Age;
  • Earn over the earnings threshold, currently, £10,000 per year; and
  • Work, or ordinarily work in the UK and have a contract of employment (i.e. so is a worker and not a self-employed contractor), or who have a contract to provide work and/ or services personally (so can’t sub-contract to a third party).

 

Non-eligible jobholders

Non-eligible jobholders, who are not already active members of a workplace pension scheme that meets certain minimum standards, do not have to be automatically enrolled in the employer’s workplace pension scheme, but do have the right to ask to join the scheme. They may also receive employer contributions.

Non-eligible jobholders are workers who either:

  • Are aged either between 16 and 21, or aged between State Pension Age and 74;
  • Earn over the earnings threshold, currently, £10,000 per year; and
  • Work, or ordinarily work in the UK and have a contract of employment (i.e. so is an employee and not a self-employed contractor) or who have a contract to provide work and/ or services personally (so can’t sub-contract to a third party).

Or,

  • Are aged between 16 and 74;
  • Earn between the lower earnings amount of, currently, £5,824 per year and the earnings threshold of, currently, £10,000 per year; and
  • Work, or ordinarily work in the UK and have a contract of employment (i.e. so is an employee and not a self-employed contractor) or who have a contract to provide work and/ or services personally (so can’t sub-contract to a third party).

 

Entitled workers

Entitled workers, who are not currently members of a workplace pension scheme that meets certain minimum standards, have the right to ask to join a workplace pension scheme, but this does not need to be the same scheme as eligible jobholders and non-eligible jobholders. It could be a personal pension or another type of pension scheme. The employer is not required to make contributions to an entitled worker’s pension scheme, although it may choose to do so.

Entitled workers are workers who:

  • Are aged between 16 and 74;
  • Earn less than the lower earnings amount of, currently, £5,824 per year; and
  • Work, or ordinarily work in the UK and have a contract of employment (i.e. so is an employee and not a self-employed contractor) or who have a contract to provide work and/ or services personally (so can’t sub-contract to a third party).

 

A worker who is not an eligible jobholder, non-eligible jobholder or entitled worker

A worker who is not an eligible jobholder, non-eligible jobholder or entitled worker does not have any rights to join an employer’s workplace pension scheme, but can save towards their retirement by taking out a pension scheme, such as a personal pension or stakeholder pension themself.

 

Frequently asked...

Why haven’t I been enrolled into my employer’s workplace pension scheme?

Automatic enrolment is being rolled out in stages until October 2018. Each employer has been given a specific date (called the staging date) by which it must have automatically enrolled eligible workers. If you are an eligible worker, but haven’t been automatically enrolled in your employer’s workplace pension scheme, this is probably because your employer hasn’t reached its staging date yet. As your employer nears its staging date, you will be told what is happening. Ask your employer for further details, or, if you still have concerns, talk to us.

I have been automatically enrolled into my employer’s scheme but I don’t want to join at this time, what can I do?

If you don’t want to join the scheme, you can opt out. Before you do opt out, you should consider the valuable benefits that you may be giving up. One of our pension specialists would be happy to discuss these with you if you contact us.

What happens if I have more than one job?

If you have more than one job, each employer will check whether you are an eligible jobholder for that employment. If you are, you will be automatically enrolled. This means that you could be automatically enrolled into more than one workplace pension scheme. If you are not an eligible jobholder, you can still ask to join each employer’s workplace pension scheme. Although you may be building up separate pension pots, you may be able to combine these at a later date, perhaps when you start to draw pension benefits or if you leave one, or more, of your jobs.

Where can I find out more?

If you need more information, please contact us. A pension specialist from our team will be happy to help with whatever pensions-related question you have. Our help is always free.

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