The auto-enrolment solution for Northern Ireland

Accountants, Advisers & Payroll Bureaux Newsletter - October 2017

Posted in General News and Newsletters

Workers Pension Trust Growth Continues

Since we issued our last newsletter in June 2017 a further 800 employers and 5,000 employees have joined Workers Pension Trust. As at 30th September 2017 we now provide a workplace pension for 3,800 employers and over 44,000 employees.

Information for New Businesses

Businesses set up before 01 October 2017

  • If your client set up their business between October 2016 and June 2017, their staging date will be 01 January 2018.
  • If they set up their business between July 2017 and September 2017, their staging date will be 01 February 2018.
  • The Pensions Regulator is sending out letters to these employers to inform them of their staging date, what their duties are, and when they will need to complete them by.

New businesses from 01 October

  • From 01 October 2017, start-up businesses will no longer be given a staging date when their automatic enrolment duties will start. Instead they will have duties as soon as they employ someone for the first time. This is known as their ‘duties start date’.
  • When your client starts paying a member of staff more than £113 per week, they must set up a PAYE scheme with HMRC. They must also assess their staff to work out if they need to be put into a pension scheme.
  • Within 5 months of taking on staff, new businesses must complete a declaration of compliance to tell the Pension Regulator what they have done to meet their duties.

To find out more the auto-enrolment duties for new employers, please click here.

On-going Duties

Auto-enrolment is not a one-off task – employers also have on-going duties. This means they must continue to assess staff and keep records. Every three years, employers must automatically enrol staff who initially opted out, back into their workplace pension scheme. They must then complete a redeclaration of compliance within five months of the third anniversary of their original staging date. Between now and the end of this year 12,000 employers across the UK are due to complete their redeclaration of compliance.

A comprehensive guide to re-enrolment can be found here.

Pension contributions are increasing

From 6 April 2018, the minimum amount employers pay will be 2% of pay, and the amount their staff put in will rise to 3%.

On 6 April 2019, this will rise again to 3% from employers, and 5% from their staff.

The table below shows the minimum contributions employers who set up a defined contribution scheme for automatic enrolment must pay, and the date when they must increase.

  Staging Date
to 5 April 2018
6 April 2018
to 5 April 2019
6 April 2019
Employer Contribution 1% 2% 3%
Employee Contribution 1% 3% 5%
Total 2% 5% 8%





It is important that your clients are ready for the contribution increases so that the correct contributions are deducted at the right time.

Where underpayment is detected, Workers Pension Trust has an obligation to report non compliance to the Pensions Regulator.

Compliance and Enforcement

The Pensions Regulator reports that whilst compliance with the law remains high, a small minority of employers are failing to meet their duties. The Regulator is maintaining a tough approach towards those who try to get away with not giving their staff the pension they are due.

Their quarterly compliance and enforcement bulletin shows where they have used their powers including the use of fixed and escalating penalty notices.

The Regulator is now taking the additional step of publishing on their website cases where they have exercised or considered exercising their powers. The report includes the employer’s name, the penalty amount, and the first part of their postcode.

The Regulator has conducted spot checks covering Glasgow, South Wales, Manchester, Sheffield, Edinburgh and Birmingham. Northern Ireland will feature in due course!

Employers warned not to fall for Auto-enrolment exemption scams

Employers should be wary of falling for a scam involving the sale of fake certificates that suggest they do not have workplace pension duties. The Pensions Regulator is investigating at least one company offering employers what it describes as “Certificates of Auto Enrolment Exemption”.

A number of employers have been persuaded to pay for the documents, with the scammers claiming the paperwork means that the holders do not have any workplace pension duties. While employers have been charged £58 for the certificates, the documents are worthless. The Pensions Regulator does not produce or accept any such documents as evidence of automatic enrolment exemption.

Group Life Assurance

Given the significant growth in membership, Workers Pension Trust has extended its services to include Group Life Assurance. Life Assurance is viewed as one of the most highly-valued employee benefits that a company can offer its staff.

The Group Life Assurance Scheme is open to all Workers Pension Trust employers. Premiums start from as little as £1 per week per employee, with three levels of lump sum cover available - £25,000, £50,000 and £100,000. There is no medical underwriting required. If you are interested in the Scheme’s Group Life Assurance please contact us on 028 9087 7142.

And Finally...

Many larger employers have now reached the third anniversary of their auto-enrolment date and as such are required to re-enrol any employee who opted out the first time round. This milestone provides the opportunity for employers to review the service they obtain from their pension provider. Workers Pension Trust is perfectly placed to accept transfers from any company wishing to change pension provider and can provide personalised support at each step in the process to make the switch as smooth as possible.