Knowledge bank

Workplace Pensions Knowledge Bank

Auto enrolment is a huge change in the employment landscape for UK businesses, yet many owners / managers haven't even heard about workplace pensions and have no idea what automatic enrolment is.

Our Knowledge Bank allows you to quickly access a wealth of information about workplace pensions, whether you want to understand everything or just (in under 90 seconds) the essentials.

Try it out now… It's free!

Video: Auto Enrolment Penalties Explained In Under 90 Seconds

Transcript: Auto Enrolment Penalties
Explained In Under 90 Seconds

The Pensions Act 2008 set up UK Auto Enrolment and set out the penalties that can be imposed on companies by the Pensions Regulator for non compliance. The penalties can be significant; fines ranging from a flat £400, £50 a day up to £10,000 a day and even imprisonment for up to two years.

To date, the Pensions Regulator has sought to solve issues informally. But that will change as thousands of smaller, less prepared companies start to enrol.

To cope with the volume of anticipated fines, the Regulator has set up its own online penalty payment service.

The key to avoiding penalties is to:

  • Be set up correctly on time;
  • Remain compliant; and
  • To fix issues quickly (otherwise fines can build up every day that you are non compliant).

Our Knowledge Bank contains detailed explanations of penalties, and contains all the information you need to set up and run your own auto enrolment scheme.

To sign up, visit now.

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Knowledge Bank

1. Deadlines And Staging Dates

staging date

A company's deadline for automatically enrolling its qualifying employees is called its "staging date" (or "duties start date" for new employers who hire staff for the first time on or after 1st October 2017). This is a very important date and varies from company to company. To find your company's staging date, click here.

2. Free Interactive Tools And Guides

Auto enrolment can be a confusing and laborious process for business owners, so we have built some interactive tools and guides to help make things simpler and clearer.

Free Interactive Auto Enrolment Planner:

  • Need to work out your staging date?
  • Want to estimate what auto enrolment will cost your business per month?
  • Looking to plan your company's auto enrolment using one simple tool?

Click here to try out our free auto enrolment planner.

Free Interactive Auto Enrolment Penalties Guide:

  • What penalties might your own company face?
  • What types of penalties can The Pensions Regulator impose on companies?
  • Is prison a possible outcome of non-compliance?

Click here to find out with our free interactive penalties guide.

Interactive Pensions Income Calculator:

Our free calculator estimates how much more your pension could pay out per week when you retire,depending on how much additional money you put into your pension pot (per month between now and your state retirement age). Have a go, you could be pleasantly surprised!

Click here to try out our Interactive Pensions Income Calculator now.

Free Employee Education Materials:

It is an employer's legal duty to educate and inform their employees about their workplace pension. Use our free video generator to create a customised, branded employee education video for your company or clients, allowing you to comply with your obligations in seconds.

Click here to create your video with our Free Employee Education Video Generator

Our free poster generator allows employers and advisers to quickly create a customised poster to inform their employees or clients about forthcoming Auto Enrolment plans.

Click here to create your poster with our Free Employee Education Poster Generator

Other Tools and Interactive Content:

We have also created some other tools and interactive pieces of content of a more informative nature:

Interactive Tools:


If you have suggestions for additional tools or animations, please let us know

3. Auto Enrolment Penalties Explained


In order to "maximise compliance", the Pensions Act 2008 gave The Pensions Regulator wide ranging powers to penalise non-compliant companies. Penalties range from fixed amount penalties to penalties that escalate daily and, in some circumstances, to criminal proceedings that could lead to imprisonment. To help company owners and professionals avoid their company being penalised, we have put together a very comprehensive information set covering, on one page, everything they might need to know about auto enrolment penalties.

Learn more by visiting our Auto Enrolment Penalties Explained page.

4. Brochures And Fact Sheets

We have created a number of helpful yet concise brochures and fact sheets on the Smart Pension approach to auto enrolment that will provide you with everything you need to know to get started from our structure and key partners to payroll software compatibility, and from our investment funds selection to our administration platform.

The brochures and fact sheets can be downloaded and printed off so you can easily send or distribute them amongst your employees or your clients. You can also request to have them posted out to you.

To access our Brochures and Fact sheets, click here.

5. Helpful Videos About Auto Enrolment

If a picture paints a thousand words, a well constructed video must be worth a whole lot more. We have created a number of short explanatory videos (they are all under 90 seconds long) about auto enrolment:

play_circle_outline Auto enrolment explained, tells you what it is and what it means for UK businesses.

play_circle_outlineHow our unique auto enrolment platform works, explained in under 90 seconds? Click to play.

play_circle_outlinePenalties explained, tells you about the fixed and daily penalties that can be issued to companies by The Pensions Regulator. Click to play.

play_circle_outlineWhy you should choose Smart Pension, explained in under 90 seconds. Click to play.

However, we're not alone in using videos to explain workplace pensions and auto enrolment. So we have collected some of the best explanatory videos we've found online and put them onto a single page. If you think any good ones are missing, please let us know

Click here to see the most helpful auto enrolment videos from around the web.

6. Glossary

The world of workplace pensions and auto enrolment includes a lot of terms that may not be familiar to the average business owner, manager, accountant or other affected professional. Staging dates, declarations of compliance and The Pensions Regulator are certainly not every day terms for most UK employers. So we have put together a glossary simple English. If we have missed any important terms, please let us know

Click here to look a word up in our glossary now.

7. In Depth Articles, Government And 3rd Party Documents And News


In Depth Articles: Where we feel a topic is sufficiently important or interesting, or FAQs or elsewhere on the site, we have written detailed articles to explain these topics to you. Our articles include The Employer's Guide To Workplace Pensions and A Guide To Recent Changes In UK Pensions (we will keep this article updated with any new changes as and when they are announced by the UK government). If you would like to suggest a topic for an in depth article, please let us know.

Click here to view all our in depth articles.

Government Guidance & Other Helpful Links & Documents: In addition to our own articles, we have gathered and hosted all the most relevant reports and guidance documents issued by the UK government (including the Department for Work and Pensions and The Pensions Regulator), as well as useful links and reports from various other sources that we think you might find useful. Be warned, some of them are very detailed! If you think we are missing a report or resource, please let us know.

Click here to view all the guidance plus other documents and links that we have gathered.

Pensions News: As and when interesting things happen in the world of pensions, which seems to happen rather frequently of late, we'll be posting details to our news page and may include our own thoughts or comments too, where appropriate.

Click here to view our pensions news page.

8. Frequently Asked Questions

Hopefully a lot of your questions will have been answered by the above sections. If not, perhaps our Frequently Asked Questions About Auto Enrolment/Workplace Pensions section can help. Here you will find the answers for the most commonly searched for /asked questions pertaining to auto enrolment.

Additionally, not only have we covered off 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. We have split this into two separate pages: our Employer Information page, which answers common questions raised by employers, and our Employee Information page, which answers common questions raised by employees.

9. Employer Checklist

employer checklist

It is helpful, once you are ready to move to the implementation phase of your company's workplace pension, to have a checklist of documents and information that you will need to sign up and get compliant in one sitting. Our sign up flow is faster than any other sign up flow in the UK by a huge margin (it takes only a minute or two, on any device).

After you've signed up, there are a few other tasks to complete and some documents to provide to verify identities, so it helps to review our checklist if you want to get 100% set up in one sitting. Our Employer Checklist will tell you what you need to have to hand, to ensure you can sign up AND complete all additional tasks in one sitting.

If you have all the items on the checklist available, you should be able to complete everything, in one sitting, online, in only a few minutes.

Click here to get started with your checklist now. It takes a few minutes to get it ready.

You may also want to have a look at our interactive auto enrolment planner tool which helps you manage the enrolment process for free. Click here.

10. Compulsory Documents And Information For Employees

Auto Enrolment Poster Generator

Once you have signed up with a pension provider, you will need to communicate with your employees about the new pension arrangements that are coming. Please do not neglect to do this as it is important and failure to do so (or to do so incorrectly) could result in significant penalties being imposed by The Pensions Regulator (see here for our "Penalties Information Hub").

Use our free interactive tools below to generate customised posters and videos to educate and inform your employees about their workplace pension and how auto enrolment will affect them. It is a legal requirement for companies to inform staff properly, so get started using our free education tools now.


Additional Letters & Materials: Please note, extra communications with your employees are required by UK law. We will generate these automatically for you if are a Smart Pension customer but non Smart Pension customers must check with their own pension provider to ensure their additional employee communication obligations are properly fulfilled.

Click here to use our document generator & inform your employees about auto enrolment now.

11. Compatibility With Payroll Providers

payroll compatibility

Using Smart Pension with any payroll provider is quick and easy. We are currently working on greater compatibility with all payroll providers. This will allow you to automatically import information into the Smart Pension platform from all payroll software providers. This increased compatibility will be ready soon.

If you have any suggestions for ways we could make Smart Pension even more compatible with your payroll provider, please let us know.

Our platform is compatible with Sage 50 Payroll. You can use Sage 50 Payroll to help you upload your employees to our platform quickly and easily, allowing you to become compliant faster.

Click here for information on how to upload your employees to our platform using Sage 50 Payroll.

You can also use Sage 50 Payroll to help you upload your payroll to our platform each month.

Click here for information on how to upload your payroll to our platform using Sage 50 Payroll.

12. Smart Pension Platform Demonstration

We have a selection of short yet comprehensive videos which show you how the Smart Pension platform works, from calculating your employee's pensions contributions to learning how to prepare and upload a PAPDIS file. These helpful videos guide you through, step by step, the various different day to day tasks as part of your auto enrolment duties and demonstrate just how quick and easy it is to use the Smart Pension platform.

To access these videos, visit our Smart Pension Platform Demonstration page.

13. Why Smart Pension?

Why you should choose Smart Pension for your workplace pension

Thank you for reading this far. We hope you have found our Knowledge Bank helpful. If you have any feedback, please let us know.

If you have not already selected a workplace pension provider, you can sign up with Smart Pension in only a couple of minutes, on any device, and get peace of mind today.

We believe we offer the best solution for UK SMEs because:

Fast: We are by far the quickest way to safely comply with the new pensions regulations.

Secure: Our investment professionals are hugely experienced and our site is 100% encrypted, with advanced security features that no other UK auto enrolment site offers.

Free: Employers pay absolutely nothing for our standard service (99% of our company customers use our standard service and pay nothing at all).

play_circle_outline Why you should choose Smart Pension, explained in under 90 seconds. Click to play.

play_circle_outline How our unique auto enrolment platform works, explained in under 90 seconds? Click to play.

Click here to visit our page explaining why we think Smart Pension is the right choice for all UK SMEs now.

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