The following Pensions guidance note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Auto-enrolment—postponement
  • Reasons for using postponement
  • When can an employer use postponement?
  • What deferral date can the employer choose?
  • Who must give the postponement notice?
  • By when must the postponement notice be provided?
  • What information must be included in the postponement notice?
  • What must an employer do on the deferral date?

An employer can postpone the date on which the auto-enrolment obligations would otherwise apply to an eligible jobholder by up to three months. The date to which an employer chooses to postpone its auto-enrolment obligations is called the 'deferral date'.

Postponement of the auto-enrolment date imposes, in effect, a membership waiting period. The decision of whether to postpone auto-enrolment is optional for the employer. If the employer wishes to use postponement, it must give notice to the relevant workers (known as a 'postponement notice').

The Pensions Regulator has issued guidance to assist employers who wish to use postponement, and has also issued a letter template that employers can use for the postponement notice.

Note that following consultation and with effect from 1 April 2017, the government extended to new employers the ability to postpone auto-enrolment for up to three months, a new employer being either:

  1. an employer who pays Pay-As-You-Earn (PAYE) income and for whom the first worker begins to be employed on or after 1 October 2017, or

  2. an employer who does not have a PAYE scheme and for whom the first worker begins to be employed on or after 1 April 2017

The aim is to give new employers (small and micro businesses in particular) the ability to have more time to deal with the official administrative requirements around enrolling a new worker