Auto-Enrolment: criteria for eligibility and compliance

Auto-Enrolment for workplace pensions 

For those that are setting up a workplace pension for employees, managing a workplace pension, or making general amendments to the scheme for their workforce, it can be a very confusing process. Fulfilling Automatic Enrolment criteria can be a drain on staff resources, but that’s where we are here to help. 

Without the right help and guidance, it’s easy to make simple mistakes throughout the workplace pension process, creating a snowball-like effect that can lead to more time-consuming problems down the line if not resolved at source.

Auto-Enrolment and staying compliant with workplace pensions can be tricky at times, so Husky Finance are here to guide you through the process. 

This article seeks to outline who is eligible for Auto-Enrolment, who doesn’t need to be enrolled into the pension scheme and the Auto-Enrollment criteria you must meet to ensure you remain compliant with TPR regulations. 

Auto-Enrolment criteria for eligibility 

If you need help with your workplace pension, we’re here for you. 

Husky Finance are workplace pension experts that are here to help you throughout the entire workplace pension process. We specialise in all aspects of workplace pensions; from choosing the right pension provider, to declaring full compliance and even managing the workplace pension scheme. 

For eligible employees, as the name suggests, Auto-Enrolment is very much automatic, as members of staff don’t have to do anything to be enrolled onto a pension scheme. The staff members simply have the choice to opt-out once they have been enrolled.

On the other hand, for employers it’s the opposite, as it is the duty of the business to ensure that every aspect of Auto-Enrolment is accurately taken care of. 

This includes ensuring all those who are eligible for Automatic Enrolment are enrolled into the pension scheme on time and those who are not eligible are given the opportunity to opt-in to the workplace pension scheme if they wish to do so. From there, it’s all about remaining fully compliant with TPR regulations to avoid facing any potential penalties or enforcement actions.

Auto-enrollment eligibility 

This section of the article seeks to outline auto-enrolment and workplace pension eligibility. Information will be presented about who is eligible for auto-enrolment, who doesn’t need to be enrolled, alongside all other factors that must be considered to remain workplace pension compliant. 

Who is eligible for Auto-Enrolment? 

So, who is eligible for Automatic Enrolment? Any individual that fits the following Auto-Enrolment criteria is eligible to be placed into a workplace pension scheme:

  • Between the ages of 22 years old and State Pension age of 67
  • Earn a salary over £10,000 per year 
  • Spends the majority of working hours in the UK
  • Not already part of a qualifying workplace pension scheme

Auto-Enrolment & Directors

A Director has the choice of being in the workplace pension scheme and hence will not be automatically enrolled into the scheme, however, if there are 2 or more Directors in the company who have contracts of employment, they will also be treated as workers and therefore will be enrolled as per the above criteria. 

Opting out of a workplace pension scheme

Once workers have been enrolled into the pension scheme, they have one calendar month during which they can opt out of the scheme and get a full refund of their pension contributions. To opt-out of the pension scheme, the employees need to contact the pension provider on an individual basis and ask to be opted out.

Who isn’t eligible for Auto-Enrolment? 

Looking beyond those who are eligible for automatic enrolment, you can also be non-eligible to be automatically enrolled onto a workplace pension scheme. 

Non-eligible workers

Non-eligible jobholders are workers that meet certain minimum standards. Although they do not have to be automatically enrolled in the employer’s workplace pension scheme, they do have the right to ask to join the scheme. The employer must provide them with the necessary documentation that will give them the information they need to make an informed decision on whether they want to opt into the scheme. If a non-eligible worker decides to opt into the workplace pension scheme then the employer must contribute towards their pension.

Non-eligible jobholders are workers who either:

  • Are aged either between 16 and 21, or aged between State Pension Age (67) and 74
  • Earn a salary over £10,000 a year
  • Spends the majority of working hours in the UK

OR

  • Are aged between 16 and 74;
  • Earn between the lower threshold (£6,240) and the upper threshold (£10,000)
  • Spends the majority of working hours in the UK

Entitled workers 

Entitled workers are workers who meet certain minimum standards and have the right to ask to join a workplace pension scheme, but this does not need to be the same scheme as eligible jobholders and non-eligible jobholders. It could be a personal pension or another type of pension scheme. The employer is not required to make contributions to an entitled worker’s pension scheme, although it may choose to do so.

Entitled workers would be:

  • Those between 16 and 74
  • Those with earnings below £6,240

Entitled workers also need to be given the opportunity to opt in. If entitled workers ask to opt into the pension scheme, the employer is not required to contribute into their pension scheme.

If at any stage you require assistance to ensure you meet any of the Auto-Enrolment eligibility criteria above, our friendly team is only a phone call away to provide expert assistance surrounding your workplace pension. 

Staying compliant with Auto-Enrolment criteria

So, if those who are eligible for Automatic Enrolment are taken care of, and those who are non eligible have been given the opportunity to opt-in with their choice documented… what else needs to be considered to avoid non-compliance? 

The deadlines for Automatic Enrolment

For existing businesses with workplace pensions already in place, Auto-Enrolment obligations begin on the first day that any new member of staff joins the business. For those that are setting up a workplace pension, the pension scheme must be set up within six weeks of the company’s duties start date to avoid any enforcement action by The Pensions Regulator.  

How to stay compliant with automatic enrolment

The list below provides insight into the auto-enrolment criteria for workplace pension compliance: 

  • The declaration of compliance needs to be completed – the declaration of compliance for workplace pensions needs to be completed and audit-proof. A guidance checklist from the TPR can be found here
  • Your workers need to be assessed for eligibility every pay period – all workers must be regularly assessed every pay period. This will help to identify when workers become eligible for auto-enrolment. 
  • Your contribution amounts need to be correct and reach the minimums – all contribution amounts must be within the required amounts. For help and guidance surrounding contribution, contact a member of our team today. 
  • Communications need to be sent to your staff at the right time – to ensure you remain workplace pension compliant, eligible staff require clear communication surrounding automatic-enrolment at the required timescales. 
  • Opted out requests need to be tracked – for all employees that wish to withdraw from automatic enrolment contributions, all written requests must be tracked and stored for future access. 
  • Re-enrolment and re-declaration of compliance – within five months of the third anniversary of your automatic enrolment staging date, you must complete and send your re-declaration of compliance to the TPR. 
  • All the above has to be documented – and kept for a minimum of six years, with the exception of those relating to opt-outs. All documentation should be stored & ready for review if necessary. 

Need a helping hand from the workplace pension experts? 

Husky Finance are experts in workplace pensions, helping you make the very most of your workplace pension investments. When it comes to workplace pension compliance, we can manage the entire compliance process to ensure every employee’s pension requirements are taken care of; that applies to both non eligible and eligible employees. 

If you are in the early stages of setting up a workplace pension, we provide guidance to help you choose the perfect workplace pension partner that meets business requirements and values before we set up the scheme for you. 

By partnering with Husky, your business can save up to 80% on workplace pension scheme fees, with preferential pricing you cannot obtain independently. The ongoing compliance is managed by our team of experts, so you can find true peace of mind that your workplace pension is working for both your business and staff. 

Contact a member of our team today if you wish to learn more. 

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