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A Useful Checklist

You should start planning for auto-enrolment around 9 months before your auto-enrolment staging date. The auto-enrolment legislation is quite detailed and complex and it takes a considerable amount of time to get to grips with the many auto-enrolment rules and regulations. Many employers are finding that it’s more cost-effective to employ the services of a specialist.

To help you decide, use the auto-enrolment guide below to see what steps you’ll need to take:

Know Your Staging Date

Auto-enrolment for employers began in 2012, when the largest companies were required to comply with the new auto-enrolment rules. Your staging date is the date by which you must have your new pension scheme set up and ready to go, even if you’re utilising postponement, because eligible employees are able to opt-in to the scheme between staging and enrolment if they wish.

From June 2015, auto-enrolment for employers with less than 30 employees will begin. To find out your pension auto-enrolment date, visit The Pension Regulator’s staging date tool at:

Provide A Point Of Contact

The Pensions Regulator will be issuing letters to all small businesses asking them to nominate a Primary and Secondary contact. This must be done online and will let the Regulator know who is in charge of the business (the Primary Contact) and who is supporting the person in charge, such as the payroll administrator (the Secondary Contact). The purpose of registering contacts online is so that the person who is in a senior position in your company can then receive auto-enrolment advice and be kept up-to-date with auto-enrolment news.

Check Who You Need To Enrol

Before you start looking for a pension scheme, you’ll need to check whether you need to auto-enrol any of your staff. This will help you to plan what you need to do next. The auto-enrolment legislation requires you to identify and auto-enrol any Eligible Jobholders into your selected pension scheme, so as a starting point you’ll need to check whether you have any staff falling into this category.

Create Your Action Plan

You need to make sure that you meet your deadline. Auto-enrolment planning well in advance will help you achieve this, so create your own auto-enrolment timetable or action plan.

Work Out Your Costs

You’ll need to know how much your regular pension payments and set-up costs are likely to be.

Check Your Records And Payroll Processes

It’s a statutory requirement to keep certain records about auto-enrolment. You’ll need to keep track of your records once your auto-enrolment duties take effect. Your payroll administrator should be looking to receive their own auto-enrolment guidance from their software provider to make sure that they know how to assess, enrol and communicate with employees, and upload data files to the pension provider.

Choose A Pension Scheme (or check if your existing scheme is compliant)

You may decide to ask for a little auto-enrolment help in choosing the right pension scheme for your business. There are specialist companies, like the Auto-Enrolment Bureau (the people behind AE FastTrack), who will be able to help.

If you have an existing pension scheme, you’ll need to check with your provider whether it meets the requirements of a qualifying pension scheme. If it doesn’t, you must set up a new pension scheme which meets these requirements.

Assess And Enrol Your Staff

When you reach your auto-enrolment date, you will need to assess and enrol your staff into your chosen pension scheme. The administration required to do this will happen through your payroll software.

Write To Your Staff

You must write to each of your staff, either by post or by direct email, to let them know how they will be affected by auto-enrolment. This must be done within six weeks of your staging date.

Ongoing Auto-Enrolment Duties

Auto-enrolment doesn’t stop at your staging date. Going forwards, you’ll need to assess the ages and earnings of your new and existing staff every time you pay them, pay contributions to your pension provider and keep records of your auto-enrolment activities.

Complete Your Declaration Of Compliance

The Pensions Regulator needs to know that you’ve set up a compliant scheme and that you’ve auto-enrolled your employees into it. The Regulator has asked you to complete an online declaration of compliance to provide them with this confirmation. Even if you haven’t had to auto-enrol anyone, you still need to complete your declaration.

Most of the auto-enrolment fines imposed by the Regulator to date have been due to the late submission of declarations. Make sure you submit yours within five months of your staging date. This auto-enrolment employer’s guide is designed to help you plan ahead for auto-enrolment. If you decide you need a little help with auto-enrolment, call us on 0800 160 1233 or email

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