03 October 2017
From this month, all new start-up founders will have to put pension plans in place at the same time that they take on their first employee.
While existing businesses were given a staging date which was often months in advance, by which they had to set-up a workplace pension, from October 2017, offering a pension scheme will be as automatic as using PAYE and paying National Insurance.
According to The Pensions Regulator, more than half a million firms, large and small, that were launched before 2012 have already passed their staging date, with around six million workers enrolled in the scheme.
From October new businesses will have to offer a pension from day one of taking on their first eligible employee, or they can apply for it to be deferred for three months.
Will Wynne, MD and co-founder of workplace pension provider Smart Pension, said:
"The founders of start-ups are by their very nature, busy people – especially as they take on their very first member of staff.
"But as saving for retirement becomes part of the culture, setting up a pension will be as automatic as using payroll or registering a company."
While the three-month respite had already been in place for existing companies when they reached their staging date, it had been the Government's plan for all new firms to offer a pension at the same time they took on eligible employees.
However, in April, new rules were introduced which means new businesses will have three months to comply with auto enrolment legislation from the date the first worker begins to be employed by the business.
The new rules also changed the auto enrolment 'duties trigger' for new businesses, which specifies the date at which a business's duty to comply with auto enrolment begins.
Under the new rules, new businesses will have to comply with auto enrolment legislation from the date the first worker begins to be employed by the business.
Previously, the auto enrolment duties so-called trigger date was the day on which PAYE income was first payable to any worker which meant the employee could not be automatically enrolled into a pension scheme until up to a month after starting work.
Currently, employers contribute one per cent of salary to their employees' workplace pensions. From April 2018, that goes up to 3% and from April 2019 it rises to 5%.
The Pensions Regulator has advice about new responsibilities and there's more about how to get compliant here.
Smart Pension has written a free e-book aimed at helping SMEs and start-ups comply with their auto enrolment responsibilities.