Automatic enrolment ― who needs to be enrolled

By Tolley

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

  • Automatic enrolment ― who needs to be enrolled
  • Workers
  • Special categories of employment
  • Dual-status workers
  • Categories of worker
  • Jobholders
  • Eligible jobholders
  • Non-eligible jobholders
  • Entitled workers
  • Table of categories of worker
  • Workers moving between categories
  • Qualifying earnings
  • The earnings trigger
  • Pay reference periods
  • Exceptions to the automatic enrolment duty

This guidance note applies only to pension schemes in England and Wales.

The automatic enrolment regime, established under 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. Employers are also required to contribute to that scheme on behalf of eligible jobholders.

PenA 2008, ss 1–99

The legislation recognises three categories of worker and treats each category differently. Employers should identify which category each of their workers belongs to, so that they know what they have to do under automatic enrolment in respect of each.

This guidance note describes which of an employer’s workers have to be included in a pension scheme under the automatic enrolment rules. For a shorter summary of the key questions in deciding which workers are covered by the automatic enrolment rules, see the Flowchart ― who needs to be enrolled.

The Pensions Regulator has issued guidance to help employers comply with their duties under the automatic enrolment regime (see the TPR Guidance ), including detail on the different categories of worker and how to identify each category.

TPR Guidance (no 1) , paras 8–52; TPR Guidance (no 3) 

For more information on automatic enrolment, see the Automatic enrolment ― overview guidance note.

For more information on qualifying schemes, see the Automatic enrolment ― what types of scheme may be used guidance note.


A ‘worker’ is an individual who has entered into, or works under:

  • a contract of employment
  • any other contract by which the individual undertakes to do work or perform services personally for another party to the contract (but not if that other party is a client or customer of business carried on

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