Automatic Enrolment Solutions Ltd
Below Are Some of The Most Frequently Asked Questions by Employers
Q: When is this happening?

A: The DWP began staging the new employer duties over a 5 year period, starting in October 2012. Employers will be allocated a 'staging date', based on the number of employees in their largest PAYE scheme as at April 2012.
Large employers with 250 plus employees were the first to stage, medium sized firms next and smaller firms and new employers last. The Pensions Regulator inform employers of their staging date 12 months in advance and send a reminder 3 months before. Employers can check their staging date on


Q: Are there any individuals who are exempt from the employer duties?
A: Yes, there are two types of exclusions:
    i) People who are treated as workers but are not covered by the employer duties:-
  • those who do not ordinarily work in the UK
  • those under 16
  • those aged 75 and over
    Ii) People who are not treated as workers so the employer duties don't apply to them:
  • the self employed
  • members of the armed forces, and
  • directors of companies, unless they have a contract of employment to work for that company and there is anyone else employed by the company under a contract of employment
Q: I already have a pension scheme in place, do the employer duties still apply to me?
A: Yes, even if you have an existing pension scheme that is better than the minimum standard, you will still have employer duties to perform - for example, telling existing members how automatic enrolment will affect them and automatically enrolling new workers.
Q: Does automatic enrolment only apply to unpensioned employees and new workers?
A: No, all workers are affected
Q: Who is treated as the employer for agency staff?
A: The contract of employment will determine the employer. If there is no contract in place, it is whoever is responsible for paying the worker, or whoever actually pays the worker.
Q: What happens if someone works for more than one employer?
A: Each employer will be required to fulfil their employer duties separately ignoring any other employment or earnings that the worker has.
Q: How do the employer duties apply to hourly paid/ zero hour contract / temporary/ seasonal/ agency workers on short term contracts who are re-employed?
A: The employer duties apply to these workers each time work is undertaken, for example, if you employ a worker for 3 months, then employ them again 6 months later, the employer duties will begin on both occasions.
Q: What are employers not allowed to do?
  • Employers cannot offer advice to employees about joining the scheme
  • They cannot be seen to influence an employee not to join the scheme
  • They must not encourage employees to opt-out
  • They cannot be the source of the opt-out form (this must be provided by the Pension Provider)
  • In particular, the employer must not use financial incentives or disincentives to persuade employees to join or not join the scheme
Q: Do I have to base contributions on 'qualifying earnings'?
A: As an alternative to using the qualifying earnings definition, employers may choose to certify that their scheme meets the minimum requirements. Minimum contributions will be based on the employer's definition of 'pensionable salary'. Pensionable salary must be at least basic contractual salary and need not include variable salary such as bonuses, overtime or commission. Contributions must be based on the first pound of pensionable salary. Employers may certify in advance that their scheme will meet the quality requirements as follows:-
  • Minimum contribution of 9% of pensionable pay, with at least 4% paid by the employer, OR
  • If at least 85% of total pay across all scheme members is pensionable, a minimum contribution of 8% of pensionable pay with at least 3% paid by the employer, OR
  • If all pay is pensionable, a minimum contribution of 7% of pensionable pay, with at least 3% paid by the employer
Q: Is it possible for an employer to pay more and the employee to pay less?
A: Yes, as long as the total contribution is at least the minimum.
Q: What is NEST?
A: NEST is short for National Employment Savings Trust, a new government backed pension scheme that employers can use for auto-enrolling employees.

(1) The stated figures relate to the 2014/2015 tax year and will be subject to review each year
The Financial Conduct Authority does not regulate some forms of Auto Enrolment.