Pensions & Retirement: Introduction
The purpose of a pension scheme is to provide employees with income after retirement from work. They are hence often a key element in obtaining and retaining good staff.
New pension obligations, commonly known as 'auto-enrolment', came into effect on a phased basis from 1 October 2012, initially for the largest employers with 120,000 or more employees. Small and medium sized employers will follow over the next six years.
Under auto-enrolment, employers have to auto-enrol eligible employees, and make mandatory employer contributions, into a qualifying workplace pension scheme. From their staging date, employers must auto-enrol eligible employees into a pension scheme when they reach the income tax threshold but contributions will kick in only from the employee threshold for national insurance contributions.
Employers will be able to operate a three-month postponement window for all employees (i.e. newly eligible existing employees and new employees), so that employees on short-term contracts do not need to be auto-enrolled in a pension scheme, although they will be able to opt in voluntarily during the postponement period.
In order to find out their staging date, an employer needs to know:
• how many people are in the employer’s PAYE scheme
• the employer’s PAYE reference.
Further information and auto-enrolment staging dates can be found on the Pensions Regulator website at:http://www.thepensionsregulator.gov.uk/employers/staging-date-timeline.aspx