Joining the scheme

To help people save for their retirement, all employers must abide by auto-enrolment pension legislation, which requires them to enrol all eligible workers into a Qualifying Workplace Pension Scheme.

Auto-enrolment

You do not need to complete an application to join the scheme. Your employer is required to enrol you automatically, provided that you meet the following eligibility criteria:

  1. You earn at least £192 per week / £833 per month.
  2. You are aged between 22 and State Pension Age.
  3. You are not already a member of a Qualifying Workplace Pension Scheme via that employer.

 

Postponement

Your eligibility may not be assessed straight away – your employer can choose to postpone this for up to 3 months after your employment start date.
If your employer does postpone your assessment, they will write to let you know. You have the option to join voluntarily within any postponement period if you wish.

 

What if you don’t meet the enrolment criteria?

If you are assessed, but don’t meet all of the eligibility criteria, then you will not be enrolled into the scheme automatically. However, your employer must continue to assess you each pay period; and if you do meet the criteria in future, you will be enrolled at that time.

If you are not automatically enrolled, you may choose to opt-in to the scheme voluntarily.

 

What if you are enrolled, but don’t want to be a member of the scheme?

If you don’t want to take part in the scheme, you can choose to “opt-out”. This can only be done after you have been enrolled – it is not possible to opt-out without first becoming a scheme member. You cannot opt-out via your employer – it must be done via the pension scheme and the simplest way is via the Digi member portal.

You have 1 month from receiving your enrolment letter in which to opt-out. If you do this, any contributions that have been deducted will be refunded to you; and you will be classed as never having been a member of the scheme.

While you are within the 1-month opt-out window, the pension section of the portal will contain a link that you must follow in order to complete an online opt-out declaration. If that link is not visible, it means that you are outside of the opt-out window. In that case, you can choose to suspend any future payments to the scheme, but you will not be able to obtain a refund of contributions.

 

What is re-enrolment?

All employers are required by law to re-assess their whole workforce every 3 years.

Anyone who has previously opted-out but still meets the criteria for auto-enrolment, must be re-enrolled at that time. There is an exception to this for people who opted-out within 12 months of the re-assessment date – these people do not need to be re-enrolled.

If you opt-out, you may therefore find that you are re-enrolled into the scheme at some point in the future. If you still don’t want to take part in the scheme, you will then need to opt-out again.

 

What if you opt-out, but change your mind?

If you have opted-out and would like to re-join he scheme, you should contact your employer to let them know.
They should then enrol you at the earliest opportunity.

 

Can you use your own pension plan for auto-enrolment?

No, this isn’t possible. Your employer can only auto-enrol you into a “qualifying workplace pension scheme”, that they have registered with The Pensions Regulator.