The auto-enrolment solution for Northern Ireland

Employers FAQs

What is my EPSR (Employer Pension Scheme Reference)?

Your EPSR is your account number with the Scheme; it is a 6 digit number followed by /2.

What is the PSR (Pension Scheme Registration) Number?

Workers Pension’s PSR number as part of Cushon Master Trust is 12008536.

What information do we need to send to our employees and when?

Employers are required to provide written information 

  • To workers who are being automatically enrolled/re-enrolled.
  • To workers who are not being automatically enrolled (so that they understand that they can opt in or join).
  • To workers whose automatic enrolment is delayed through postponement so that they can choose to opt in or join during the period of delay.

The auto-enrolment legislation states that the enrolment information must be given to workers no later than six weeks after the eligible jobholder’s automatic enrolment date or re-enrolment date.  Workers Pension suggests that employers communicate as early as possible with workers so that they know what to expect and when.

Template auto-enrolment letters and contribution increase reminder letter are available in the Employers Resources section of this website.

Are contributions paid on the ‘Net Pay arrangement’ or ‘Relief at Source’?

Workers Pension uses the Net Pay arrangement for tax relief. This means that you deduct employee contributions before any tax is taken. For example, Alex pays 20% tax. £10 goes from his wages into his pension pot, before any tax is taken. This reduces his taxable earnings by £10 and he pays £2 less in income tax. This means he has received £2 tax relief from the government. His take home pay is reduced by £8 but £10 has gone into his pension pot. Please note that any employees earning less than £12,570 (from April 2023) do not benefit from the tax relief that a taxpayer would receive. However, this doesn’t affect the amount that is paid into the pension and they will continue to benefit from the money that the employer pays in.

Can employees and/or employers pay more than the legal minimum contribution?

Yes, paying additional contributions allows your staff to make better provision for their retirement. Members and/or employers may contribute more than the minimum percentages required by auto-enrolment. If you and/or your staff are interested in paying additional contributions, download and complete the Contribution Change Form. Information on what to do next can be found on the How do I change salary or contribution level details? page.

You will also need to amend your payroll to reflect the change.

What are Qualifying Earnings?

Qualifying earnings are measured on a band of earnings between the lower earnings limit and the upper earnings limit (between £6,240 and £50,270 for 2023/24). Qualifying earnings include salary, wages, overtime, bonuses and commission, statutory sick pay, and any statutory pay received during paternity, maternity or any other kind of family leave.

What is Salary Sacrifice?

Employers may offer the option of salary sacrifice to employees enrolled in the Scheme. Salary sacrifice is an agreement between the employer and the employee whereby the employee gives up part of their salary (their ‘sacrifice’), which the employer then pays into the pension scheme, along with their own employer contribution to the scheme. Once an employee accepts a salary sacrifice arrangement, their overall pay is lower, so they pay less tax and National Insurance. In addition, the employer will not have to pay their employers’ National Insurance contributions on the part the employee has ‘sacrificed’.

How does the Opt-Out Process work?

Click to view the Opt-Out Process.

Do I need to do anything for workers who opt out or leave the Scheme?

Every three years at your re-enrolment date you will need to reassess your workers to see whether they need to be re-enrolled into the Scheme. You can find out more on the Re-enrolment page.

I’ve missed my staging date – what should I do?

Ideally employers should set up a workplace pension scheme before their staging date. 

If you have missed your date by six weeks or more the first thing you should do is set up a pension scheme. From 8 December 2023 any new employers who want to join the pension scheme must apply to join Cushon Master Trust. To join this scheme click Sign up today.  

The Pensions Regulator can issue fines if employers miss their staging date.  It is best to let The Pensions Regulator know that you are taking action to meet your legal responsibilities. You should telephone The Pensions Regulator on 0345 600 1011 to let them know that you have missed your staging date but have now signed up with Workers Pension Trust.

The Pensions Regulator will likely require you to backdate pension contributions to your staging date. In this case, you will need to liaise with your payroll provider to get a report of backdated contributions. The backdated contributions will need to be uploaded to your account on the Scheme’s online portal and paid to the Scheme; we can assist you with this process. 

You will also need to inform your workers that they are being auto-enrolled. You can tailor our template letters, which are available in the Step By Step Guide to Auto-enrolment.