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The AE Fast-Track Blog


Our latest Blogs about Auto-Enrolment

Should I DIY Auto-enrolment?

The Pensions Regulator has relaunched their website to make it more accessible and relevant to small businesses.  As more and more businesses are staging, many of them will chose a DIY route.  It may seem a cheap way of meeting your duties, but is it really worth it? 

DIY Auto-Enrolment

It’s cheaper*

You will need to research auto-enrolment.  How does it affect you? When do you need to do it by? What do all these new terms mean? How much will it cost you?

You will need to pick a scheme – research the market, choose a provider and product.

You will need to design the scheme, choosing  pay reference periods, setting a  postponement policy and contribution basis.

You will need to set up the scheme with the provider and provide your payroll administrator with the details so that they can set it up on the payroll.

You will need to tell your staff that you have set up a scheme and explain how it will affect them in terms of cost, timing, postponement and benefits.

If you run your own payroll, you will need to assess your staff at your staging date, and every pay reference period after that.

You will need to issue statutory communications not just at staging, but for every payroll run thereafter, where there’s a change to someone’s AE status.

You will need to calculate contributions, notify the pension provider of those contributions, deal with opt ins, opt outs and refunds.

You will need to keep records of the scheme you have set up and the assessment details each payroll.

You will need to submit your declaration of compliance to The Pensions Regulator

*How much is your time worth?  Will your scheme be easy to administer?  Are you handling joiners and leavers correctly?  Have you chosen the most cost-effective contribution basis?  Is your scheme good value for money?  How safe is the pension scheme?

Auto-Enrolment supported by us

Auto-enrolment jargon is clarified - our qualified auto-enrolment experts will explain everything in plain English.

You’ll get expert advice to make sure that every aspect of your scheme design fits your business needs.  Choosing the right design can keep costs down for you and your employees.  

We’ll explain all of the technical stuff - how you can use pay reference periods and postponement to make the admin easier and, potentially, cheaper.  We’ll make sure that you get tax relief right.

We’ve done the market research, so we know which schemes are suitable, which ones charge a monthly fee to small companies, and which ones only accept large companies or monthly payrolls.  We also know which ones require minimum contributions or charge extra for fund switches. 

If you use our AE FastTrack service, we will explain why we are happy to recommend The People’s Pension, a scheme we have chosen based on its merits (see blog post).  If you use our Bespoke service, we’ll carry out a full market review of pension schemes to help you choose one.

We’ll set up the scheme for you and provide a document that tells your payroll administrator all they need to know, and it covers your record-keeping requirements for scheme records.

We’ll sort out your HR issues and employee communications for you, providing you with a Pension Policy for employment contracts and a decent employee announcement letter.   

If you choose to outsource your payroll to us, we’ll do all the admin after staging – employee communications, contributions, data uploads, record keeping and declaration of compliance.     

We’ve heard from small businesses who have come to us after they tried to do it themselves, and it’s often not a happy tale.  As these business owners haven’t had the support they needed early on in the process, they often miss important deadlines, or set up a scheme that is complicated to administer through the payroll.

 If auto-enrolment isn’t done right at the very beginning it can cost you dearly in time and expense in the long term.

There are lots of things you can DIY but, like plumbing or electrics, it is really worth getting the experts in for auto-enrolment!

If you think you might need to set up a scheme, or would like to talk through your circumstances, please give us a call on 0800 160 1233.  We’ve got lots of useful information and guidance on our website if you need it:

I’m a Director, do I need to be Auto-Enrolled?

The rules for directors are complicated, it depends on your circumstances.  We’ve put together these handy hints to point you in the right direction.

Are you the sole director of a limited company?

If you are the only director and do not have any employees, you do not need to set up a pension scheme or be auto-enrolled yourself.   

Do you have a contract of employment?

As a joint director, if you do not have a contract of employment (written or verbal) with your business then you don’t need to be auto-enrolled.

If you do have a contract of employment, does anyone else in the business?

If the answer is no (for example, there are 3 directors only and only you have a contract of employment) then you don’t need to be auto-enrolled.

If you have a contract and there is at least one other person who has a contract of employment (director or employee), then you may need to set up a scheme and be auto-enrolled.  This will depend on your earnings and age.

It gets a bit more complicated if you employ contractors (Personal Service Workers), there’s a useful video from The Pensions Regulator, which also covers directors, here:

What to do next

If you have determined that you do not have any auto-enrolment duties, you need to tell The Pensions Regulator that you are not an employer before your Staging Date.

You will need your Letter Code and PAYE reference.  Your Letter Code can be found on any correspondence with The Pensions Regulator.

If you think you might need to set up a scheme, or would like to talk through your circumstances, please give us a call on 0800 160 1233.  We’ve got lots of useful information and guidance on our website if you need it:

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