FAQs about Auto Enrolment:
Q. What does Auto Enrolment mean for my business?
A. Auto Enrolment will impact on your business in the following ways:
- you will have to set up and implement a compliant pension scheme
- your wage bill will increase as you will have to pay a pension contribution for your employees
- there is an ongoing requirement to keep records, continually assess your workforce, send compliant communications to them and make pension contributions every payroll
Enrolex comment: Our quick, easy and free service specialises in helping small businesses with AE
Q. Do I have to set up an Auto Enrolment scheme?
A. Yes, it is now a legal requirement to have a compliant pension scheme for employees. The only exemptions are sole traders with no employees, and limited companies with only one director and no other employees.
Q. When do I have to set up my Auto Enrolment scheme?
A. You must have a compliant scheme set up and in place for your staging date, this is a date that is set by the Pension Regulator. You can find out your businesses staging date by going to their website.
Enrolex comment: We’ll assess your staging date for you and let you know what you need to do and when
Q. I’ve heard that I can postpone my Auto Enrolment, what does this mean?
A. Postponement means delaying the start date of your scheme for up to a maximum of 3 months to align contributions with payroll periods.
Enrolex comment: We automatically postpone every scheme for the maximum three months. As well as giving extra time to ensure the scheme is set up properly and running smoothly, this saves the employer money because contributions are not paid during the postponement period.
Q. Who needs to be included in the Auto Enrolment pension scheme?
A . This is a very complex area but briefly your workforce will be split into three categories:
- Eligible job holders
- Non eligible job holders
- Entitled workers
Employees are allocated into the different categories using a range of criteria including age and salary. Only eligible job holders are automatically enrolled into the scheme, the others can elect to join if they wish.
Enrolex comment: We’ll assess your workforce and tell you which employees need to be enrolled in the scheme. We’ll do this assessment at every payroll period to capture any changes in your workforce and let you know if you need to make any changes. Even better, we’ll communicate all of this to your employees so you don’t have to do a thing.
Q. How do I choose a pension scheme?
A. You’ll need to find a pension provider that can offer an AE compliant scheme, offering a secure fund for your employees retirement savings. There are a wide range of options available.
Enrolex comment: We’ve already done all the hard work for you and chosen a pension provider who meets the needs of your employees.
Q. How much will it cost?
A. The only direct cost to the business is the pension contributions you make to the scheme, but there is also the time it takes to implement and run a compliant pension scheme which can be a significant cost to the business. You may have to pay for new payroll software or pay your Accountant more to run it for you.
Enrolex comment: We can manage your pension scheme for you and undertake all the communication and administration tasks. Contact us today to discuss your requirements.
Q. How much time will it take?
A. We can’t tell you exactly how much extra time you’ll need to comply with your AE responsibilities, as this will vary a lot between employers depending on the size and complexity of the business, but you need to be aware that it could be significant. You’ll need to set up the scheme, which involves 33 separate processes, and then run it, ensuring compliance at every stage. This can take up to 3 admin days per month.
Enrolex comment: Let us do everything for you so you can get on with running your business.
Q. What happens if I don’t comply?
As an employer you must comply with certain duties, and failure to do so could result in fines ranging from £400 to £50,000. Wilful non-compliance is a criminal offence and could result in prosecution.
Enrolex comment: We’ll make sure you are fully compliant and won’t risk a fine.
Q. I’ve already got a pension scheme, why do I need another one?
A. 95% of existing pension schemes are not AE compliant.
Enrolex comment: We can assess your current provision and let you know if it does the job. If not, we can sign you up to our free scheme in just 15 minutes.
Q. I’ve had a letter from the Pensions Regulator asking me to nominate a contact, what does it mean?
A. The senior person in your organisation has overall responsibility for AE but you can also appoint a contact who will be responsible for managing and implementing AE within your business. This person will receive instructions and information from the regulator and will be responsible for ensuring all responsibilities are met.
Enrolex comment: We can be your nominated contact and will make sure all your AE responsibilities are met.
Auto Enrolment Myths
My wife and I are Directors and we don’t have any employees, so we don’t need a pension scheme – FALSE
Even though you are a director, you are still an employee and must set up a compliant scheme, even if you then opt out.
My Accountant does my payroll, so I don’t need to do anything – FALSE
Your accountant may do the payroll, but it is your responsibility to ensure that you have a compliant scheme in place and should not assume that your Accountant will set it up for you. Our research has shown that many Accountants do not intend to offer AE and those that do will certainly be charging for this additional service. Even if your Accountant is prepared to offer this function, you will still have responsibility for choosing a pension scheme, contribution amounts and other important decisions about the scheme. Once the scheme is set up you have an ongoing responsibility to undertake employee assessments, send employee communications and keep auditable records.
I’ve already got a personal pension / SIPP, so I don’t need to do anything – FALSE
The majority of personal pensions and SIPPs are not AE compliant, unless your provider happens to offer a compliant version, which is highly unlikely. You will need to set up an AE scheme to comply with the legislation, even if you then opt out.
All my staff are part time, so I don’t need to do anything – FALSE
The law applies to everyone who works in the UK regardless of whether they are full-time, part-time or on a temporary contract. Whoever is on the payroll at any given time must be assessed, and, if they are eligible, auto enrolled into a compliant scheme.
I’ve read that Directors don’t have to auto enrol because of their contract with the business – FALSE
There have been various articles written on this topic, however, leading legal opinion is that if you are a Director working in your business, you are required to join the scheme. The notable exception is non-exec Directors who may not have to auto enrol.
More information can be found on The Pension Regulator website.