Over 800,000 small businesses are set to reach their auto enrolment pension staging date over the
course of this year. Whenever your staging date is, you should have already begun your preparations by; assessing staff to find out which ones are eligible for auto-enrolment, checking your existing pension scheme is suitable (or finding a suitable scheme) and ensuring your payroll software is compatible with auto-enrolment.
To determine what preparations you need to make before your staging date, you will need to assess your staff to see which are eligible for auto-enrolment. Eligible employees are those who; are not already in a qualifying pension at work, are aged between 22 and State Pension age, earn more than £10,000 a year and work in the UK. Even if workers don’t meet this criteria, they may still be able to opt-in.
Employees who meet the auto-enrolment criteria must be auto-enrolled, but they can opt-out if they wish. Whether they opt out or not, all eligible staff must be automatically enrolled back into the scheme every 3 years.
Once staff have been assessed every business will need to ensure they have a suitable pension’s provider in place. If you haven’t found one yet, the ACT can help.
Within 6 weeks of your staging date you must write to every member of staff to inform them that they have / have not been auto-enrolled into your company’s pension scheme. They should be told that contributions will be deducted from their wages and paid into a pension scheme and that they have a right to opt out of the scheme (or into the scheme if they have not been auto-enrolled), if they wish to do so.
Your duties do not end once you have enrolled your staff. You must provide information to show that you are meeting your automatic enrolment duties. This means completing a declaration of compliance using the Pension Regulator’s online service within five months from your staging date. This is a legal duty. If it is not completed within five months of your staging date you could be fined. A declaration of compliance must be completed for every employer who has staff, even if these staff have not had to be auto-enrolled.
For more information on your legal duties as an employer visit www.actsmart.biz/pensions