Auto Enrolment proves to be a much bigger headache than initially expected.

Auto Enrolment (AE) is the new and compulsory employer obligation to provide employees with access to an employer pension scheme. Many large companies are already operating the scheme with all other employers set to join over the next 3 years.

Auto Enrolment is not optional for businesses and The Pensions Regulator can levy penalties against businesses that are non-compliant or fail to implement a scheme prior to their staging date.

Importance of your “staging date”

The staging date is the date by which your scheme must be up and running as well as compliant with all the new requirements. All companies with two or more employees have a staging date for Auto Enrolment based on their number of employees as at 1 April 2012

Here at Balance Accountants, Huddersfield we have already helped a number of clients to get to grip with auto enrolment and it has proved to be an arduous and time consuming task so we are recommending that you start planning for it now.

As a guideline, the following is our suggested timescale for implementation.

By 6 months before your deadline (“staging date”) you should have:

  • Checked which workers might need to be automatically enrolled into a pension scheme
  • Chosen a pension scheme and confirmed that the pension provider will accept all your workers
  • Ensured that your payroll systems support Auto Enrolment, and
  • Started to make your workers aware of Auto Enrolment.

Once your staging date arrives you must:

  • Enrol workers into your chosen pension scheme
  • Make contributions to that scheme
  • Keep records, and
  • Complete registration with The Pensions Regulator

Auto enrolment is just another burden piled on employers and it may be that it is the final straw that persuades many employers to outsource their payroll processing. The payroll department at Balance Accountants can help you—we have experience of auto enrolment as well as the necessary processes and procedures to operate your payroll and auto enrolment for you. Don’t get bogged down doing it yourself when we are here for you!

This article was compiled by Ashley Barrowclough

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