Fortunately common sense prevails and in some cases the smallest of businesses are not considered to be an employer and do not have auto enrolment duties.

If you don’t have any staff other than directors, and you are not expecting to employ anyone between now and your staging date – you may not have any automatic enrolment duties.

You won’t have any duties if the only people working for you are:

  • you as the sole director, or
  • a number of directors, none of whom has an employment contract, or
  • a number of directors, only one of whom has an employment contract

Automatic enrolment WILL apply if more than one director has a contract of employment.

What if you have staff, but have or are about to cease trading?

You won’t have any duties:

  • your company has ceased trading
  • your company has gone into liquidation
  • your company has been dissolved

What if you are a husband and wife company – do automatic enrolment duties apply to you?

If no one else is working for the company, it will depend on your roles and if you have employment contracts, as to whether you have automatic enrolment duties or not.

If you are both directors:

  • The company will have automatic enrolment duties for both of you if both of you have employment contracts.
  • The company won’t have any automatic enrolment duties if only one of you has an employment contract, or neither of you has.

If one of you is a director and the other is not:

  • The company will have automatic enrolment duties for the person who isn’t a director.

If you both have contracts of employment:

  • The company will also have automatic enrolment duties for the person who is a director.

What if you are an employer, but you have staff that do not qualify for auto enrolment?

If the company does have automatic enrolment duties for anyone, what you need to do will depend on their age and earnings.

Employees may still have the right to opt in and contribute to their own pension even if you don’t need to contribute as an employer.

We’re a family business – do automatic enrolment duties apply to us?

If no one else is working for the company, it will depend on your roles and if you have employment contracts, as to whether your company has automatic enrolment duties or not.

If you are all directors:

  • If you all have employment contracts, the company will have automatic enrolment duties for all of you.
  • If at least two of you have employment contracts, the company will have automatic enrolment duties for all those who do.
  • The company won’t have any automatic enrolment duties if only one of you has an employment contract, or none of you has.

If some of you are directors and some are not:

  • The company will have automatic enrolment duties for all those who aren’t directors.
  • If at least two of you have employment contracts (whether directors or not), the company will also have automatic enrolment duties for any director who has an employment contract.
  • If the company does have automatic enrolment duties for anyone, what you need to do will depend on their age and earnings (see below).
Monthly gross earnings Age Weekly gross earnings
From 16 to 21 From 22 to SPA* From SPA to 74
£486 and below Has a right to join a pension scheme 1 £112 and below
Over £486 up to £833 Has a right to opt in 2 Over £112 up to £192
Over £833 Has a right to opt in Automatically enrolled Has a right to opt in Over £192

Figures correct as of 2015/2016. *SPA = state pension age

1 Has a right to join a pension scheme
If they ask, the employer must provide a pension scheme for them, but the employer doesn’t have to pay contributions.

2 Has a right to opt in
If they ask to be put into a pension scheme, the employer must put them in your automatic enrolment pension scheme and pay regular contributions.

3 Automatically enrol
The employer must put these members of staff into their automatic enrolment pension scheme and pay regular contributions. The employer doesn’t need to ask their permission. If a member of staff gives notice, or the employer gives them notice, to leave employment before the employer has completed this process, the employer has a choice whether to automatically enrol them or not.

If you believe you don’t have automatic enrolment duties you will need to inform the Pensions Regulator in writing.   This can be done online. If the Regulator agrees that you do not have any duties, they will write and confirm this to you.

I am not an employer

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