Auto enrolment is a government initiative which is designed to make sure that all employees have access to a workplace pension. Previously, many employees may not have been able to access their workplace pension, due to failing to apply (for financial reasons or other) or simply because their workplace did not offer a pension. Auto enrolment means that every employee who would like to start saving for a pension, and is eligible, can. Employers are now compelled to enrol every eligible employee into their pension scheme, and contribute towards it. Any employers who do not have, and do not want to set up, a pension scheme, can access the Government’s National Employment Savings Trust, or NEST.
If you’re wondering if you are eligible for auto enrolment, the good news is that the rules are fairly simple. Provided you are not yet at state pension age but are over 22, earn more than £10k per annum and are normally working in the UK under an employment contract, then you are eligible for auto enrolment. You will receive tax relief on any contributions you make, and even if you are not eligible, you can still ask to be added to your employer’s pension scheme. You never know, they may even contribute to it!
Eligible job holders may sometimes decide that they do not want to join their employer’s pension scheme. In this case it is possible to opt out of auto enrolment. However, while not irreversible, it would be wise to consider what benefits would be lost by opting out; for example, your employer’s monetary contributions, any benefits that may be paid out in the event of illness or death and tax relief on your contributions. Opting out usually lasts for a minimum of three years, so you could be missing out on quite substantial benefits.
We hope you’ve enjoyed our quick guide to Auto Enrolment. If you are eligible for this scheme, but find that you have not yet been registered, don’t worry as your employer has until October 2018 to make sure that this happens.