Employer duties to provide pensions to employees
Produced in partnership with John Hamilton of Blake Morgan
Employer duties to provide pensions to employees

The following Pensions guidance note Produced in partnership with John Hamilton of Blake Morgan provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Employer duties to provide pensions to employees
  • Automatic enrolment duties
  • Duty to provide minimum information to employees about pensions
  • Express contractual pension terms
  • Implied duty of trust and confidence
  • Implied duty to inform staff about the existence of a valuable pension right
  • Statutory requirement to consult employees on pension changes
  • Ongoing duties in respect of stakeholder pension schemes
  • Duty to provide minimum level of pension benefits on TUPE transfer

Automatic enrolment duties

The auto-enrolment regime, established under Part 1 of the Pensions Act 2008 (PenA 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

The duty was phased in from October 2012 starting with the largest employers first. New employers who first pay PAYE income in respect of any worker on or after 1 October 2017 have an immediate duty to apply automatic enrolment, as do new employers who become an employer on or after 2 April 2017 and do not have a PAYE scheme, irrespective of whether they pay PAYE income or not (ie the enrolment duties start to apply to the employer from the date the first worker begins to be employed by them).

The minimum quality standards required of an automatic enrolment scheme depend on the nature of the scheme (eg whether it is a 'defined benefit' or 'defined contribution' arrangement). In order to help employers comply with the auto-enrolment duty, the government established a low-cost pension scheme known as the National Employment Savings Trust (NEST).

For further information, see Practice Notes:

  1. Auto-enrolment: