Automatic enrolment into a workplace pension

As a result of Government’s Workplace Pension Reforms, employers have a responsibility to ensure their employees have appropriate access to a workplace pension.

This will involve employers assessing staff against set criteria in relation to age and earnings and, if necessary, automatically enrolling ‘Eligible Jobholders’ into an appropriate qualifying pension scheme. If you are not currently a member of a pension scheme, this is likely to impact you.

If you are already a member of a qualifying pension scheme (ie Local Government, Teachers, Fire, NHS) these changes will have no impact on you (unless you are a member of the 50/50 section of the LGPS).

Further information on Pensions Automatic Enrolment and Automatic Enrolment assessment criteria:

Workplace pensions (GOV.UK)

The Pensions Regulator

Starting dates for automatic enrolment

The date from which the new rules apply is known as the employer’s ‘Staging Date’.

Staging dates started from October 2012, based on the number of persons in the employers largest PAYE scheme (based on information provided to the Pensions Regulator from HMRC as at 1 April 2012). Employers with the largest PAYE schemes were rolled out first.

  • employers with 250 or more persons in their largest PAYE scheme were staged between October 2012 and February 2014
  • employers with 50 to 249 persons in their largest PAYE scheme were staged between 1 April 2014 and 1 April 2015
  • employers with fewer than 50 persons in their largest PAYE scheme will be staged between 1 June 2015 and 1 April 2017

An employer can find out their Staging Date by visiting The Pensions Regulator website.

Exemptions from Pensions Automatic Enrolment Regulations

Under the legislation, employers have certain duties and safeguards which they must adhere to in relation to enrolling workers into a pension scheme. However, employers are exempted from Pensions Automatic Enrolment duties for the following categories:

  • agency workers – where the agent will be the agency worker’s employer
  • office holders e.g. Councillors
  • volunteers
  • workers working outside of the UK
Opting out

If you have been automatically enrolled but don't want to be a member of the Scheme, or decide at a later date that you don't want to be a member, you can obtain an opting out form from the relevant pension scheme.

If you decide to opt out of the Scheme, you have the right to rejoin the Scheme from the beginning of the next available pay period after electing to rejoin, subject to meeting the Scheme’s eligibility criteria.

Ongoing re-enrolment into a workplace pension

Under Automatic Enrolment, if you are an ‘Eligible Jobholder’ and you opt out of the pension scheme, you will automatically be re-enrolled as part of the employer’s three year Re-enrolment cycle. An employer’s cyclical Re-enrolment date occurs approximately every three years from their original Staging Date.

For payrolls administered by the Integrated Business Centre (IBC), the following Eligible Jobholders will not be re-enrolled into a qualifying pension scheme as part of cyclical Re-enrolment :

  • where they have opted out of the pension scheme in the 12 months before the automatic re-enrolment date
  • where they are subject to the ‘Transitional Period’* on the cyclical automatic enrolment date
  • where they have Primary, Enhanced or Fixed protection from tax charges on their pension savings. Please note: this will be dependent upon the IBC being notified by the member of staff that they hold a relevant protection from the HMRC (please see guidance below).

* Transitional Period: employers who provide pension schemes with defined benefits may have exercised their right to apply the Transitional Period, allowing them to delay automatic enrolment of Eligible Jobholders until 30 September 2017. Further details can be found on The Pensions Regulator website.

50/50 section of the LGPS

The 50/50 section of the LGPS is designed to be a short-term option for when times are tough financially. Because of this your employer is required to re-enrol you back into the main section of the scheme every three years, in line with their automatic re-enrolment date.

If you are a member of the 50/50 section of the LGPS, you will be re-enrolled into the main section of the LGPS from the beginning of the pay period following your employer’s automatic re-enrolment date. You can then make another request to remain in the 50/50 section of the LGPS.

HMRC Primary, Enhanced and Fixed Protection

A worker who has built up pension savings above the Lifetime Allowance for HMRC purposes is protected from tax charges on those savings under HMRC’s primary, enhanced or fixed protection requirements.

Under these provisions a worker may have

  • Primary protection
  • Enhanced protection
  • Fixed protection 2012
  • Fixed protections 2014
  • Individual protection 2014

The IBC will not re-enrol workers with these protections as part of the cyclical Re-enrolment process as long as they have emailed the IBC Pensions Administration Team at attaching a scanned copy of the protection certificate and providing details of their SAP Personnel Number(s). Please include the wording ‘URGENT: HMRC Protection’ in the subject field. This information must be submitted by the end of the preceding month before the employing organisation’s Re-enrolment date.

Further information

Local Government Pension Scheme:

Firefighters Pension Scheme:

Teachers' Pension Scheme

NHS Pension Scheme

General information about pensions and saving for retirement:

Workplace pensions (GOV.UK)

The Pensions Regulator

If you have a query after reading the policy and guidance on this page, contact HR Operations.

01962 813915