The secret to pensions auto enrolment? Have a plan

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Whether you are thinking about changing your opening hours or searching for new staff, it can be useful to have a plan for how to manage it. This is no less true for your new pension duties.

Over 45,000 employers will need to introduce a qualifying workplace pension scheme for their workers this year, rising to over half a million in 2016, and you could be one of them.

Recent research from NEST shows that while 86% of small and micro business employers are aware of auto enrolment, 83% don’t currently have an active workplace pension scheme and only 18% understand what it means for their business.

In order to navigate this unchartered territory, employers may find that a solid plan helps them to implement a compliant scheme in time for their staging date.

What can you do to prepare your business?

First things first, take a look at your existing pension arrangements to see if they’ll meet the requirements of the new duties. If you don’t have a pension scheme in place, don’t worry, you’re not alone. Although now is the time that all changes.

Next up? Find out your staging date. You can do this by heading over to The Pension Regulator’s website. Knowing this can help you set out a timeline to work towards.

Decide who is going to be in charge of handling the day-to-day of auto enrolment. Will it be you, someone in your company or an intermediary?

With many schemes, you can share access to your pension scheme with another user. Using delegated access, you can nominate someone in your company or even your accountant, bookkeeper, IFA or payroll bureau to help you.

Following this, you need to determine who needs to be auto enrolled. You will need to enrol all eligible workers who are not already in a qualifying scheme. An eligible worker is:

  • Aged between 22 and the state pension age
  • Working in the UK
  • Earning above £10,000.

It is important to know that other types of workers can ask to be enrolled and you may need to make contributions for them too.

Having a plan of action could help make the terrain ahead easier to navigate. Carrying out the tasks mentioned above should put you on the right path to successfully auto enrolling your staff.

About the author

Paul Budgen is the Head of Business Development at NEST, the workplace pension set up by the government. It’s free for employers and has a public service obligation to accept any employer no matter how big or small. Find out more on the NEST website.

Forum members can also access a free pensions consultation and tailored report to help you explore the best option for your business.