Auto-enrolment final deadline passes

Business News

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By 1 February 2018, all employers must have a workplace pension plan in place under the Government’s automatic enrolment scheme.

Launched back in October 2012, auto-enrolment has seen millions of workers across the UK enrolled into workplace pension schemes.

The final deadline this month applies to all new employers who have PAYE first payable between 1 July 2017 and 30 September 2017.

Pension contributions for these employers will be introduced in phases, starting from this month.

Going forward, any new employer will be required to comply with auto-enrolment from the start date of the employment of its workers.

These new employers will need to be ready to comply with the auto-enrolment requirements straight away in most cases.

However, you can postpone automatic enrolment for up to three months from a new member of staff’s first day to cover a probationary period or for seasonal, temporary or contract staff who will stop working for you within three months or when an existing staff member meets the age and earnings criteria to be put into a pension scheme.

Going forward auto-enrolment contributions will continue to increase year-on-year. Below is a table illustrating this:

Date Employer minimum contribution Employer minimum contribution Total minimum contribution
Before April 5 2018 1% 1% 2%
April 6 2018 – April 5 2019 2% 3% 5%
April 6 2019 onwards 3% 5% 8%

These percentages are taken from qualifying earnings between £5,876 and £45,000 (17/18 tax year) which include basic pay, overtime, bonus, holiday pay and statutory benefits such as maternity, paternity and sick pay.

Currently, in order to be enrolled within a scheme, a staff member must be 22 years old, but under State Pension age and earn at least £10,000 a year.

However, the Government suggested recently that they were looking to extend auto-enrolment to those aged 18.

Employers who fail to enrol their staff into a workplace pension scheme could face significant penalties ranging from a flat £400 fine up to £10,000 a day or even imprisonment for up to two years for the most serious failures.

Link: Workplace pensions