A pension plan is a long-term investment so its value can fall as well as rise and your employees could get back less than was paid in.

What is auto-enrolment and why was it introduced?

Auto-enrolment (or automatic enrolment) is a government scheme which was introduced in 2012 to try and help working people save for their retirements. It means that by law, all UK employers have to enrol their eligible employees into a pension scheme, and make payments into that scheme on their behalf. 'Auto-enrolment' refers to that process of setting up and running a pension scheme, rather than being the scheme itself. As such, it can be used with a range of our Standard Life group pension products.

You can find out a bit more about the history of auto-enrolment from The Pensions Regulator site 

Do I have to set up auto-enrolment?

If you employ anybody, even one person, you'll need to carry out an assessment to see if it's necessary to set up an auto-enrolment scheme for them. So the first task is to review all of your employees, and establish their eligibility status for auto-enrolment. This assessment is based on three eligibility categories.

Assessment - which employees are eligible for auto-enrolment?

Which employees you need to auto-enrol in to your pension scheme depends on a combination of their age, and how much they earn. Your employees can be split into three categories: eligible jobholders, non-eligible jobholders and entitled workers.

  • Eligible jobholders

These are employees you have to auto-enrol into your pension scheme. They're anyone who's:

  • Aged between 22 and the State Pension Age (you can check State Pension Age on the UK Gov website calculator)
  • earning at least £833 a month or £10,000 a year.
  • Non-eligible jobholders

These are employees that you don't have to auto-enrol, unless they ask to opt-in to the pension scheme. In this case, you do need to enrol them and make regular payments. These people are:

  • aged 16 to 74 and earning at least £520 a month, or £6,240 a year
  • Entitled workers

These employees are entitled to join a pension scheme (and the you must provide this), but you don't have to pay into it for them and it doesn't have to be the same scheme as the one being used for auto-enrolment. They're anyone who's

  • aged 16 to 74 and earning less than £520 a month or £6,240 a year
  • aged under 16 or over 74 earning any amount

Standard Life can help you do all this once you've applied for your scheme - we'll set you up with an easy online platform with everything you need. If you're looking for practical information on exactly how to assess your workforce before you apply, The Pensions Regulator site  has detailed guidance on this.

How much will auto-enrolment cost?

Find out more about what Auto-enrolment contributions are and how these are worked out.

I don't have eligible employees - do I have to do anything?

If you don't have any eligible employees at this stage, you do still need to carry out the above process to re-assess your workforce at regular intervals - ideally every month when your pay-roll goes through.

What next?