Auto-enrolment pension thresholds for 2021/22

If you are employed and you are not enrolled in a pension scheme, you should look into it.

Pensions are a tax-efficient way of saving into a pot for your future self after you decide to retire. A second pension pot is essential when it comes to ensuring you have a comfortable retirement income as the State Pension is only £179.60 per week as of 2021, a very low living income.

This is the main reason the Government has made it mandatory for employers to automatically enrol their employees to a workplace pension, to ensure they have an extra yet separate source of income during retirement.

Learn here all about auto-enrolling into a pension scheme as well as any small details

What is an auto-enrolment pension scheme?

This scheme of automatically enrolling employees to a collective workplace pension is called auto-enrolment. By the law, all qualifying employees have a workplace pension in which the value of the pot is based on contributions and how well invested these funds are (defined contribution pension), or based on the employee’s final salary with that employer (defined benefit pension).

It is the law for employers to enrol their employees to the company’s pension scheme, if they qualify for it.

To qualify for auto-enrolment you need to:

  • be classified as a worker
  • be between 22 and State Pension age, which depends on your date of birth
  • earn at least £10,000 per year
  • you are mainly working in the UK
  • you aren’t enrolled in another pension that qualifies for auto-enrolment and by the same employer.

If based on these, you qualify for auto-enrolment, it means that your employer will automatically register you to the company’s pension scheme, in which you and them will contribute to.

If you do not qualify, you can ask to be enrolled and they cannot refuse. They can refuse to contribute if you earn less than the minimum threshold but you are able to contribute to your pension yourself.

What is the auto-enrolment threshold?

The threshold for auto-enrolment in a workplace pension is triggered mainly by your earnings and whether your salary reached the minimum amount threshold.

As of 2021/22, the threshold is £10,000, meaning that you should earn a minimum of £10,000 to be automatically enrolled in a workplace pension scheme.

If you don’t qualify for workplace enrolment you can request to join as they cannot refuse it. But your employer can refuse to contribute if your income is low and you earn:

  • £520 a month
  • £120 a week
  • £480 over 4 weeks,

or less.

Qualifying earnings

But what classifies as an earning that triggers auto-enrolment?

What classifies as a qualifying earning (on which pension contributions are based on) are:

  • wages and salary
  • overtime pay
  • bonus and commission
  • statutory sick pay
  • family leave (such maternity or paternity leave).

These are your qualified earnings meaning that based on these you make payments to your pension.


The total minimum amount of workplace pension contributions is 8% of your qualifying earnings. Usually, the employer contributes the minimum 3% and you the rest 5%.

Also, the percentage you pay into your pension pot – your contribution – is based on your qualifying earnings which have to be between £6,240 and £50,270 per year.

In other words, your contributions to your workplace pension are based on your earnings which are over £6,240 per year while the auto-enrolment system is triggered when you earn £10,000 per year. This is because you can contribute to your workplace pension pot even if you are not auto-enrolled.

Lastly, the Government also contributes into your pension as a top-up, which essentially is tax-relief on your pension contributions.

Can I enrol if I’m self-employed?

Unfortunately, no. Self-employed workers have to arrange their own pension. This is because they are not employed by a company and instead work for themselves so they are not entitled to join a workplace pension scheme.

In this case, self-employed people have to arrange a personal pension pot for themselves. However, sometimes self-employed people are also employed by a company, in which case they are eligible for a workplace pension and a personal one, or only a workplace pension.

Opting out

You can opt out of your workplace pension but it is not advisable.

Every employee has one month after auto-enrolment to opt-out and give their notice to their employer and pension provider.

If you decide to opt out within a month of being auto-enrolled, you will get back your pension contributions as soon as possible. However, if you opt out after the deadline, then your contributions will remain in your pension funds until you reach retirement age and you are eligible to receive it.

It is entirely the employee’s choice whether they want to opt-in or out, and it is illegal to be coerced out of it by the employer.

Making workplace pensions work better for you.

Auto-enrolment pensions and Salary Exchange are set up and taken care of for you.

Husky mobile app phone illustration

Husky Finance is your saviour

Husky Finance lives and breathes workplace pensions. We help employers and directors choose the right tools and the right pension schemes for their employees.

We want to help employers save more for their business and their employees to have more in their pockets! We do this by taking care of your auto-enrolment pension process as well as introduce you to the salary exchange pension scheme!

Get in touch with us today to learn more on how to secure your employees’ future.

We are using cookies to give you the best experience. You can find out more about which cookies we are using or switch them off in privacy settings.
AcceptPrivacy Settings

husky small logo

  • Husky Cookie Policy

Husky Cookie Policy

Our Cookies Policy explains what cookies are, how we use cookies, how third-parties we may partner with may use cookies on the Service, your choices regarding cookies and further information about cookies. 

See our cookies policy here.