The auto-enrolment solution for Northern Ireland

What is Auto-Enrolment?

Auto-enrolment means that, rather than having to actively choose to join a pension scheme, staff are put into one by their employer, if they meet certain criteria.  

People are living longer and many are not saving enough to be financially comfortable when they retire. This means they will have to rely on the State pension, which is not enough for most people to live on. Auto-enrolment is an easy way to start saving towards your retirement now. Every employer will be required to enrol their workers in a pension scheme if they are not already in one.

Auto-enrolment means that you can save for your retirement with a workplace pension that every employer must provide. Both you and your employer make contributions to the pension. When paying into a pension scheme, you may receive tax relief on contributions.

If you are not already in your employer’s pension scheme, you will be automatically enrolled as long as:

  • You are at least 22 years old
  • You are under State pension age
  • You earn more than £10,000 a year
  • You usually work in the UK

If you earn less than the minimum amount or if you are younger or older than the minimum and maximum age, you can still join a pension scheme. You will need to let your employer know that you want to join. Your employer will let you know when contributions are due to begin.

Contribution rates

The table below shows the minimum contributions:

 Date Employer Minimum Contribution Employee Contribution Total Minimum Contribution
 Current rate: 6 April 2019 onwards 3% 5% 8%
 Previous rate: 6 April 2018 to
 5 April 2019
2% 3% 5%

How much will I pay in?

The following calculations are illustrative examples only. They are based on contribution rates as at April 2024 and use ‘qualifying earnings’ as the earnings basis to calculate contributions:

 Gross Weekly Wage £350.00
 Less Lower Earnings Limit 2024/25 -£120.00
 Pensionable Pay £230.00
 Employer Contribution £6.90
 Employee Contribution £11.50


 Gross Monthly Wage £1500.00
 Less Lower Earnings Limit 2024/25 -£520.00
 Pensionable Pay £980.00
 Employer Contribution £29.64
 Employee Contribution £49.00

What is tax relief?

Tax relief means that money that would have gone to the government as tax goes into your pension instead. Workers Pension operates a net pay arrangement for tax relief. This means that pension contributions are deducted from pay before tax is calculated (gross pay). If you are eligible for tax relief, your employer deducts your contributions from your pay before they deduct tax, giving immediate tax relief. (The tax you’d normally pay is invested in your pension instead.)

If your earnings are below the starting rate for income tax (£12,570 2024/25) you do not benefit from the tax relief that a taxpayer would receive. However, this doesn’t affect the amount that is paid into your pension and you will continue to benefit from the money that your employer pays in.

How tax relief works in practice

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 take home pay is only reduced by £8 even though £10 has gone into his pension pot.

Employees earning less than £12,570 (April 2024) won’t receive tax relief under the net pay arrangement because they don’t earn enough to pay tax.

Can I pay in more than the minimum contributions

Yes. Paying in additional contributions allows members to make better provision for their retirement. If you are interested in paying additional contributions download and complete the Contribution Change Form and pass to your employer so that they can set up the extra payments on your behalf. You can reduce your pension contributions back to the minimum amounts at a later date if your circumstances change.

Do I have a choice?

Yes, you do. After you’ve been enrolled in Workers Pension you may opt out.

Think carefully before opting out as you will lose the right to pension contributions from your employer and you may have a lower income when you retire.

What you need to know about Opting Out

  • Your employer cannot ask you or force you to opt out.
  • If you are asked or forced to opt out, you can tell The Pensions Regulator.
  • If you stay opted out, your employer will normally put you back into pension saving in around three years.
  • If you change your job, your new employer will normally put you back into pension saving straight away.
  • If you have another job, your other employer might also put you into pension saving, now or in the future.

How to opt out

  • If you decide to opt out, contact Workers Pension by telephone (0345 475 0555) or email on or after the commencement of the opt out period to request an Opt Out Form. The opt out period starts on the date on which you were automatically enrolled, or (if later) the date on which your employer told you that you had been automatically enrolled, and ends one calendar month from the start date.
  • Return the completed Opt Out Form to your employer. Your employer will stop deducting contributions from your pay and will refund any contributions already deducted at the next pay run.
  • If you want to leave the pension scheme after the opt out period has expired, you will not be able to opt out, instead you may cease active membership by informing your employer in writing. You will not be eligible for a refund of contributions from your employer. We will write to you to advise of your options on leaving the pension scheme.