Hopefully a lot of your questions will have already been answered somewhere on our site. On this page we have compiled together topic areas that are relevant to employers such as exemptions and exceptions to auto enrolment, and postponement. For these topic areas, we have provided answers to the common questions that have arised, covering off not only the big questions, but also the fiddly grey areas and annoying odds and ends that will crop up for any UK SME implementing auto enrolment for the first time.
Can An Employer Postpone Auto Enrolment?
Yes under certain circumstances you can postpone auto enrolment.
How Long Can Employers Postpone For?
Employers can postpone auto enrolment for a maximum of three months from specific dates, however they can only do so at specific times and must also give notice to employees.
Example: If an employer has a staging date of 30th April and wishes to postpone their staging date they have 3 months from the 30th April. This would mean that the latest the employer would be able to postpone to is 30th July.
When Can Employers Postpone?
Employers can postpone auto enrolment on the following dates:
- The staging date.
- The first day of employment for any employee that starts their job after the staging date.
- The date an employee meets the criteria for an eligible job holder after the staging date.
How Much Notice Must An Employer Give?
Employers must provide notice of their intent to postpone to their employees within 6 weeks and 1 day from the date they wish to postpone.
Example: If an employer has a staging date of 30th April and wishes to postpone their staging date, they must provide notice to employees within 6 weeks from this date. In this example the latest the employer would be able to give notice is the 11th June.
Failure to produce this notice will mean that postponement cannot be applied. This notice must tell the employee that:
- Auto enrolment has been postponed.
- The deferral date – this is the last day of the postponement period.
- That if they meet the criteria for an eligible jobholder on the date of the deferral they will be enrolled, and employees that don't meet the criteria have the option to opt in.
Employers don't need to tell the Pension Regulator that they have decided to postpone auto enrolment duties. It is important to note that using postponement doesn't change the deadline for the declaration of compliance, and if an employer does elect to postpone then they must inform all staff in writing of their intention to do.
If An Employer Chooses To Postpone Their Staging Date For 3 Months Can Any Employees Opt In And Must Employers Make Payments For Them?
Yes. Very few employees choose to do this but if they send the correct written authority then you must allow them to start making contributions and fulfil your obligation as an employer.
If An Employee Classed As 'Entitled' Or 'Non Eligible' Wants To Opt In, Must An Employer Make A Contribution?
If the employee is classed as 'non eligible' then quite simply, yes. If the employee is classed as an 'entitled' worker then the employer may choose whether to make contributions themselves.