Employers need to be preparing to implement a qualifying workplace pension scheme for their employees. Auto enrolment is designed to make enrolling into pensions the default choice of everyone and increase the amount being saved for retirement. It is the largest change since the introduction of the minimum wage and has more systems implications than real time PAYE.
What Are Staging Dates?
A Staging Date is the exact date when auto enrolment becomes business as usual for your firm. The point at which your own date will come into force was decided based on the size of your PAYE scheme in April 2012 – in other words, the number of qualifying individuals you had working for you.
The order of these staging points has been divided up to start with the largest employers first, progressing to medium sized firms and then the smaller businesses. All employers that had at least 90 employees in April 2012 reached their staging dates by May 2014. Between now and 2018 small and medium sized operations will have to start offering a workplace pension.
To be absolutely certain that you do not miss your date it’s a good idea to check our quick staging date calculator. This will tell you instantly when your date is. To use it, all you have to do is enter your PAYE reference and it will provide a calculation. If you set up your business after April 2012 for example or don’t have a PAYE scheme you should check the Pension Regulator’s modified staging dates by clicking here.
Notification of Your Staging Date
The Pensions Regulator should write to you approximately 12 months in advance of your staging date telling you when it is and what you should do to be prepared. However, it’s your duty as an employer to be aware of this date and to take actions accordingly.
But if you’re not ready then don’t panic, it’s possible to adjust the date at which you start auto enrolment. You can postpone for up to three months (subject to certain conditions) in order to give you more time, and you may also push back your date if you employed fewer than 50 people in April 2012.
However, if this does not apply to you then your staging date is set in stone. Equally, you can choose to bring forward your staging date. To do this you must write to the Pensions Regulator who will take steps accordingly.