Workplace pension auto enrolment guide

posted on 22/02/2016 17:13:13 by Hannah Corbett

All business owners with employees are now required to provide workplace pensions. You are responsible for making sure your business complies with workplace pension auto enrolment laws.

Take advantage of impartial information from The Pensions Regulator and The Government to set up the right pension for your staff.

What is auto enrolment of workplace pensions?

Workplace pensions are pension schemes arranged by employers for their staff – as opposed to private pensions which are arranged by employees themselves. Traditionally, larger businesses with more than 250 employees have been legally obliged to provide workplace pensions for all eligible staff – known as ‘auto enrolment’ of employees onto the schemes.

However, the law has changed, and all businesses – even those with fewer than 250 employees – are now legally obliged to provide workplace pensions under the Pensions Act 2008.

If you’re a small business owner who does not offer a workplace pension scheme for staff, you are now legally responsible for ensuring that your business complies with the laws before the end of 2017.

Whilst it may sound like there is plenty of time before the 2017 deadline, setting up a workplace pension scheme and ensuring all eligible employees are enrolled can be a time consuming process – sometimes taking as long as a year to complete. So, it’s absolutely essential that you act now.

What business owners need to do

You should expect to receive a letter from The Pensions Regulator explaining:

  • Which tasks you need to complete to comply with auto enrolment laws.

  • The deadlines for each task that you need to complete.

  • Your pension auto enrolment staging date, which is the date by which you will need to be fully compliant with all laws and all eligible staff are enrolled.

Use the Duties Checker tool to find out your staging date.

Start preparing your workplace pension scheme twelve months before your staging date.

A member of our insurance panel, Aviva, is offering a range of support designed to make compliance a lot easier:

Aviva also provide quotes for setting up your own workplace pension through them – which is 5-Star Defaqto rated. Please note, pension schemes from other providers may be more appropriate for you so you should investigate those. For more information about these, please visit

What happens if you don’t comply?

If you fail to comply with auto enrolment laws by your staging date, then you may be fined by The Pensions Regulator. Non-compliers will be issued with a Fixed Penalty Notice – currently £400. If you are issued with a Fixed Penalty Notice and fail to pay it within the specified time period, then you could be issued further fines up to £10,000, depending on the number of staff that you have.

Comprehensive information about the auto enrolment can be found The Pensions Regulator website, and information about workplace pensions in general can be obtained from the Government website.

Image: Courtesy of Simon Cunningham on Flickr

Hannah Corbett

Hannah is a Content Producer for Make It Cheaper, focusing much of her time on creating useful content and online tools for small business owners. You can email Hannah at

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