The following Pensions practice 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?


CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19) UPDATE: On 9 April 2020 the Pensions Regulator (TPR) published ‘Automatic enrolment and pension contributions: COVID-19 guidance for employers’ which sets out how employers can meet their automatic enrolment duties as they navigate the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. The guidance states that automatic enrolment duties continue to apply as normal, including re-enrolment and re-declaration duties.

For further information, see Practice Note: Coronavirus (COVID-19)—the pensions implications for employers — Automatic enrolment duties.

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

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