Automatic enrolment ― overview

By Tolley

The following Employment Tax guidance note by Tolley provides comprehensive and up to date tax information covering:

  • Automatic enrolment ― overview
  • The automatic enrolment duty
  • Who needs to be enrolled?
  • Qualifying schemes
  • Certification requirements
  • Opting-out, re-enrolment and registration
  • Automatic enrolment and TUPE
  • Provision of information and record keeping
  • Sanctions for non-compliance


The automatic enrolment duty

The automatic enrolment regime, established under the Pensions Act 2008, Part 1, imposes a duty on employers to make arrangements for the automatic enrolment of all of their ‘eligible jobholders’ into a ‘qualifying scheme’, which is also called the ‘workplace pension’. Employers are also required to contribute to that scheme on behalf of eligible jobholders.

PenA 2008, ss 1–99

Enrolment must be automatic and no action must be required on the part of eligible jobholders, although they may voluntarily opt-out of the automatic enrolment regime if they wish (see further below under Opting-out, re-enrolment and registration).

PenA 2008, s 8

The obligation on employers to operate automatic enrolment was introduced in stages in a process that started on 1 October 2012. That process assigned to each employer a ‘staging date’ ― that original staging date is important in determining when the employer has to consider its cyclical re-enrolment duties (see the Automatic re-enrolment guidance note).

The Pensions Regulator has produced a step by step tool  on its website, as well as detailed guidance (‘TPR Guidance’) to help employers comply with their duties under the automatic enrolment regime.

TPR Guidance 
Who needs to be enrolled?

The legislation recognises three categories of worker and treats each category differently. The categories of worker are:

  • eligible jobholders (workers who must be automatically enrolled)
  • non-eligible jobholders (workers who may choose to be enrolled)
  • entitled workers (workers who must be given access to a pension)

PenA 2008, ss 3(1), 1(1), 8, 88; TPR Guidance (no 1) , paras 40–51 and TPR Guidance (no 3) 

Employers should identify which category each

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