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Auto enrolment duties don’t end at your staging date

FeetondeskIt’s tempting to sit back and breath a huge sigh of relief once your workplace pension is in place and eligible staff are enrolled.

But the work doesn’t end there. Every employer has ongoing auto enrolment duties and you need to make sure that changes are monitored, from staff earnings through to requests to opt in and opt out of the pension scheme.

Key ongoing duties to be aware of are:

  • Contribution levels
  • Changes to employees’ ages or earnings
  • Opts, opt ins and new members of staff
  • Record keeping
  • Declaration of compliance
  • Automatic re-enrolment

If you are using your payroll bureau, accountant or bookkeeper to manage your workplace pension then most, if not all, of these tasks will be carried out on your behalf.  But even though you’ve given the worry of managing your scheme over to somebody else, it’s helpful for you to understand what your duties are and what your ongoing management fee is paying for.

Contributions

Contributions must be above the minimum level and will need to rise in line with the minimum limits. They have to be calculated and paid to your employees each month. And your employees’ contributions will also need to be calculated and paid into the scheme, too.

Changes to age and earnings

If an employee has a birthday and turns 22 they may become eligible to be enrolled into your workplace pension scheme. Or an employee may have a pay increase which takes them over the £10,000 threshold, meaning they become eligible. New employees may also join the company and will need to be assessed and enrolled if eligible.

Opt outs and opt ins

Employees may ask to leave – opt out – of the pension scheme within a month of being enrolled. If they do they’re entitled to a refund of any contributions that they’ve made. The system for opting out may vary from pension provider to provider and you may get a form which will have to be passed on to your pension scheme manager. Opted out employees will automatically be re-enrolled after three years.

Non-eligible jobholders and entitled workers can ask to opt in to your scheme and you may have to pay contributions if your employees earn enough. Also, new starters will need to be assessed and enrolled if they’re entitled.

Keeping records

You will need to keep records about your workplace pension. Records you need to keep are:

  • Records about jobholders and workers such as name, National Insurance number, opt-in notice and joining notice
  • Records about the pension scheme such as employer pension scheme reference and scheme name and address.

Records should be kept for a minimum of six years and handed over to The Pensions Regulator if it asks to see them.

Automatic re-enrolment

Automatic re-enrolment happens every three years and is a repeat of the duties carried out at staging date. You will need to re-enrol any staff who opted out or any that are now eligible to join. You will also need to submit a re-declaration of compliance.

Completing your declaration of compliance

You must complete and submit your declaration of compliance within five months of your staging date to let The Pensions Regulator know you have met your legal duties for automatic enrolment. If, however, you’ve decided to postpone, you won’t be able to submit it until after the postponement period has ended.

You will need to submit a re-declaration of compliance within five months of re-enrolment.