The following Pensions Q&A provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:
Automatic enrolment does not apply to workers under age 22. But if a worker is aged between 16 and 21 and has qualifying earnings of £6,032 or more (in tax year 2018–19), they can still opt in to their employer’s automatic enrolment scheme and benefit from employer pension contributions.
Under limb a of the definition of ‘worker’ in section 230(3) of the Employment Rights Act 1996 (ERA 1996), a 'worker' is defined as 'as an individual who has entered into or works (or worked) under a contract of employment’.
Under ERA 1996, s 230(2), ‘contract of employment' means a contract of service or apprenticeship.
An apprenticeship agreement (provided it meets the requirements under the Apprenticeships, Skills, Children and Learning Act 2009) is to be treated as a contract of service (and not a contract of apprenticeship).
See Practice Notes: Employee status and Apprenticeships.
The auto-enrolment regime, established under Part 1 of the Pensions Act 2008, imposes three key enrolment duties on employers:
to enrol all of their ‘eligible jobholders’ automatically into an ‘automatic enrolment scheme’ (the auto-enrolment duty)
to enrol 'non-eligible jobholders' into an 'automatic enrolment scheme' if they choose to opt in
to enrol 'entitled workers' who request to join a scheme into a registered pension scheme
See Practice Note: Auto-enrolment—
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