Government issues amended timetable for pensions auto-enrolment

The Government today issued amendments to the timetable against which employers must enrol their staff in workplace pension schemes.

The Government says that the amendments have been made in order to allow smaller businesses more time to prepare for auto-enrolment, due to what it described as “exceptionally tough economic times”.

Larger employers – those with 250 employees or more – will not be subject to any change in their deadlines for auto-enrolment.

Announcing the changes, minister for pensions Steve Webb said: “We have done all we can to ease any burden on business the reforms will bring and employers of all sizes now know the date they need to start enrolling their staff.”

Today’s announcement was described as “just one more delay” by professional services company Towers Watson, which pointed out that minimum contributions will now be phased in almost 16 years after the Pensions Commission was originally asked to investigate under-saving for retirement.

Rudi Smith, senior consultant at Towers Watson, added: “It isn’t only small employers affected by these delays: some large employers will be able to keep contributions lower for longer where they do not think all employees attach sufficient value to their main pension offering. However, the latest delays do not give large employers any more time to work out how they will comply with a panoply of complex rules and regulations, some of which are only now being finalised.

“As employers get their teeth into these rules, they are finding that many things do not work quite as they thought. They are also waiting for the Government to finalise standards that existing pension schemes will have to comply with. Large employers won’t have much time to firm up their plans after these are published.”

Automatic enrolment commences in October 2012. The Department of Work and Pensions has said that a consultation and draft Regulations with more detailed information will be published shortly.

For further information on today’s changes, see XpertHR’s news on the topic and also XpertHR’s podcast on pensions auto-enrolment.

The full timetable for auto-enrolment is as follows:

Employer size (by PAYE scheme size) or other description

Auto-enrolment duty date




250 or more members

1 Oct 2012

1 Feb 2014

50 to 249 members

1 Apr 2014

1 Apr 2015

Test tranche for less than 30 members

1 Jun 2015

30 Jun 2015

30 to 49 members

1 Aug 2015

1 Oct 2015

Less than 30 members

1 Jan 2016

1 Apr 2017

Employers without PAYE schemes

1 Apr 2017

New employers Apr 2012 to Mar 2013

1 May 2017

New employers Apr 2013 to Mar 2014

1 Jul 2017

New employers Apr 2014 to Mar 2015

1 Aug 2017

New employers Apr 2015 to Dec 2015

1 Oct 2017

New employers Jan 2016 to Sep 2016

1 Nov 2017

New employers Oct 2016 to Jun 2017

1 Jan 2018

New employers Jul 2017 to Sep 2017

1 Feb 2018

New employers Oct 2017

Immediate duty

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