The phrase “We’re all in” has been all over television, the internet and printed media, so there’s a good chance your employees are already at least aware of auto enrolment. As an employer there are legal requirements regarding communication with your employees. There are also the practicalities of managing workers who may be uncertain about what this actually means for them.
Which employees do I tell about auto enrolment?
Although the law only requires you to communicate with eligible employees and non-eligible employees, for practical purposes it will probably be easiest to communicate with entitled employees as well so that everyone understands how the change affects them (if it does).
What do I tell employees about auto enrolment?
For eligible workers you must advise them of the fact that they will be automatically enrolled into a pension scheme and provide the details of this scheme, along with guidance as to where they can find more information on workplace savings. This information must be communicated even if its been provided previously to employees who are already enrolled in an appropriate pension scheme. Employees must also be advised of their right to opt out.
The same information must be provided to non-eligible employees except that you will advise them of their right to be enrolled rather than that they will be automatically enrolled.
Entitled employees may be advised of their situation and options regarding making pension contributions.
When do I tell employees about auto enrolment?
Legally speaking, for employees who are already enrolled in a qualifying pension scheme, you have up to two months from your staging date to provide them with the regulatory information. For eligible employees who are new to a pension scheme you have up to a month from enrolment to provide them with the regulatory information. For non-eligible employees you have a month from your staging date to make them aware of their right to join a workplace pension scheme.
However, arguably the most practical way to managing existing employees during the initial staging process is to adopt a drum-beat approach. Start with small snippets of general information in the early stages and provide regular updates with more information up until the final stage of regulatory communications.
Going forward, you will also need to manage communication with employees who become eligible for auto enrolment either through a change in circumstances or because they join the company. You will also need to manage the periodic re-enrolment of employees who opt out. These workers may choose to stay in the scheme, even though they opted out previously or to opt-out again. This communication however can usually be managed on a case-by-case basis.
How do I tell employees about Auto Enrolment?
There is a regulatory requirement to provide information in writing. This may be on paper or by email. It can be very helpful to provide information through other media to reduce the pressure on the team(s) implementing and managing the scheme. For example, when questions from specific individuals are answered, these answers could be used as the basis of FAQs to be posted in an obvious location on a website (or notice board). Employers could also provide mini-video clips explaining key points and updates or hold staff workshops in small groups.