Workplace pensions

The law on workplace pensions has changed to make it easier for people to save money for their retirement. Automatic enrolment means every employer must automatically enrol eligible staff into a qualifying pension scheme.

Staging dates

Auto enrolment is being phased in gradually, with the largest businesses beginning in October 2012. Your start date for auto enrolment, known as a staging date, will depend on the number of employees in your PAYE scheme.

All businesses with more than 250 employees are already expected to be compliant. Smaller businesses are being phased in gradually until February 2018.

Finding out your staging date

If you know your PAYE reference number, you can find out your staging date on the Pensions Regulator website.

Complying with auto enrolment

In order to comply with the new pension reforms, employers will have to:

  • Provide a qualifying pension scheme
  • Automatically enrol eligible employees
  • Make employer contributions
  • Tell staff about auto enrolment 
  • Register with the Pensions Regulator.

Choosing a pensions scheme

If you already have a defined contribution workplace pension scheme you need to check with the Pensions Regulator if you can use it for auto enrolment.
If you already run a stakeholder pension you still have to operate it if your existing members want it. However, you don't have to offer it to other workers.

Who is eligible?

You must automatically enrol all staff who are:

  • Between 22 and state pension age;
  • Working in the UK; and
  • Earning more than £10,000 (for the 2016/17 tax year).

Some staff who don't meet the criteria can also opt in to auto enrolment. If they choose to opt in, you have to enrol them.

Employer contributions

Auto enrolment requires employers to make a minimum contribution, which is a percentage of an employee's qualifying earnings.

The minimum contribution is 2% with at least 1% coming from the employer. The minimum employer contribution increases to 2% at the start of the 2018/19 tax year and 3% from 2019/20.

Inform employees

You need to write to all staff to tell them how they are affected by auto enrolment.

Staff can choose to opt out of your pension scheme after they have been automatically enrolled. Those who want to opt out will have to complete a form from the pension scheme provider and give it to you.

Register with the Pensions Regulator

Once you've set up your pension scheme you need to register it with the Pensions Regulator and provide details of your pension scheme, including the number of people enrolled. This can be done online at the Pensions Regulator website.

NEST pensions

NEST (National Employment Savings Trust) is a pension scheme set up by the government and is designed to help employers meet their auto enrolment obligations.

Employers are free to choose which qualifying scheme they use but the NEST scheme is specifically designed to help smaller employers meet the requirements of auto enrolment.

Contact us to discuss your legal obligations for auto enrolment.

SJD Accountancy

SJD Accountancy are the UK's largest specialist provider of fixed fee, Limited company accountancy services to contractors; we've been acting for contractors across the UK since 1992 and have more than 15,000 clients.

We are the only national specialist firm of contractor accountants with offices nationwide. SJD Accountancy has more qualified staff than any other firm in our market with qualifications from the following major tax and accountancy bodies - ATT, AAT, CTA, ACCA, CA, ACA and FCCA.

  • Unlimited face to face meetings. This is a unique service only SJD Accountancy offers - unlimited face to face meetings across the UK - tax is complicated and sometimes only a meeting will do.
  • UK's Largest contractor accountants with more qualified staff. No call centres, no outsourcing, no automated call handling. Simply telephone, email or meet your own dedicated accountant* face to face.
  • Money back service guarantee. All your telephone calls and emails will be answered the same day or we will make a full refund of that months fee.
  • Outstanding reputation. We have won more awards for customer service and accountancy excellence than any other firm in our market, including: Best Accountant for Contractors, Accountant of the Year and Best Professional Service Team to name just a few.
  • All inclusive low cost fixed fee accountancy package which includes completion of accounts*, payroll bureau, dividends and corporation tax computations, personal taxation, free bookkeeping software, your own dedicated accountant* and all company returns for a fixed fee of £120 plus VAT per month.

If you have any questions about contracting or would like any further advice please call our new client services helpdesk on 01442 275789 or email:

Appoint SJD Accountancy and never worry about your tax or accountancy affairs again.

Form your own Limited company with SJD - our same day online company formation service includes company bank account set up, VAT/PAYE registration and advice on optimum share structure. 

You may also find the following pages, guides and case studies useful:

*If you would like us to complete your company year end accounts we simply ask that you have been a client of SJD for one year or have made 12 monthly payments. All accountants are part or fully qualified.