Introduction to Pensions and Retirement

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
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