Q&As

Are apprentices auto-enrolled into a pension if they earn under 10,000 per year and are aged under 18?

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Published on LexisPSL on 11/12/2018

The following Pensions Q&A provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Are apprentices auto-enrolled into a pension if they earn under 10,000 per year and are aged under 18?
  • Enrolment duties
  • Jobholders
  • Eligible jobholders
  • Non-eligible jobholder
  • Entitled workers

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.

Enrolment duties

The auto-enrolment regime, established under Part 1 of the Pensions Act 2008, imposes three key enrolment duties on employers:

  1. to enrol all of their ‘eligible jobholders’ automatically into an ‘automatic enrolment scheme’ (the auto-enrolment duty)

  2. to enrol 'non-eligible jobholders' into an 'automatic enrolment scheme' if they choose to opt in

  3. to enrol 'entitled workers' who request to join a scheme into a registered pension scheme

See Practice Note: Auto-enrolment—

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