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Pension Auto-Enrolment: A Guide for Employers

Even if you’re a small employer with one or two employees, you still need to comply with the pension autoenrollment rules. The rules can be complicated, so in this article we’ll take a detailed look into what pension auto-enrolment entails and what it means for employers across the UK.

What is Pension Auto-Enrolment?

Pension auto-enrolment is a government initiative that requires employers to automatically enrol eligible workers into a qualifying workplace pension scheme. This scheme must meet certain standards set by the government, such as minimum contribution levels and governance requirements. Auto-enrolment was introduced in 2012 as part of the Pensions Act 2008 and has since been phased in gradually, with all eligible employees now covered by the scheme.

As an employer, you are required to enrol all qualifying employees onto a suitable pension scheme, and you must also contribute to the scheme. Your employees are allowed to opt out, but only after they’ve been enrolled, and you must not in any way encourage them to opt out.

Which employees qualify for autoenrollment?

Pension auto-enrolment applies to employers of all sizes, whether they employ one person or thousands. The criteria for determining eligibility are:

Age: Workers aged between 22 and State Pension age.

Earnings: Employees must earn above the earnings trigger, which is £10,000 per year for the 2024/25 tax year. This threshold is reviewed annually.

Location: The scheme applies to workers in the UK, including those with varying types of employment contracts, such as full-time, part-time, agency workers, and those on zero-hour contracts.

If an employee does not qualify for auto-enrolment, they may still ask to be enrolled onto your pension scheme.

Employer Responsibilities:

As an employer, the legislation gives you several key responsibilities:

Assessment of Eligibility: Employers must assess their workforce to determine who is eligible for auto-enrolment based on age and earnings criteria.

Enrolment Process: Eligible workers must be automatically enrolled into a qualifying pension scheme. Employers are responsible for facilitating this process and providing information to employees about their rights and options.

Contributions: Both employers and employees must make contributions to the pension scheme. The minimum contribution levels are set by the government and are subject to periodic review. At the time of writing the minimum contribution is 8% of qualifying earnings, at least 3% of which must be an employer contribution.

Communication: Employers must communicate with their workforce about auto-enrolment, providing clear information about the scheme, contribution levels, and opt-out procedures.

Record-Keeping and Compliance: Employers are responsible for maintaining accurate records of auto-enrolment, contributions, and employee communications. Compliance with regulatory requirements is essential to avoid penalties and legal consequences.

If you have questions or if we can help in any way please call our expert team on 01296 468 185 or email

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