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Auto enrolment or ought to get on with it?

Mark Twain famously said that if the first thing you do in the morning is eat a live frog, you can go through the rest of the day knowing the worst is behind you. A grim prospect, but I suspect that for some employers, thinking about auto enrolment is their ‘frog’.


To start with, it is important you know exactly what you want to achieve; whether it’s just about compliance and simply meeting your legal duties or whether you want to add real value for your staff by providing more than the minimum requirements.

Pension auto enrolment is hot on the agenda and you could well be one of the thousands of employers that have received a letter from The Pensions Regulator detailing your auto enrolment requirements. You can’t avoid the legislation. The reality is that just like PAYE, VAT and NIC, auto enrolment is another compliance requirement you will need to deal with and, like the other compliance requirements, there are punitive fines if you don’t.

What do you need to contribute?

The minimum contributions rate must be at least 8% of the workers’ ‘qualifying earnings’ by April 2019, with employers picking up at least 3% of that amount. You can phase in the cost of your employer duties up until 2019, which is designed to help you manage the impact on your cashflow.

What happens if you don’t meet your auto enrolment requirements?

The Pensions Regulator has the power to investigate firms who it believes are not meeting the requirements and issue penalties for non-compliance.

Large employers have already gone through the auto enrolment process and The Pensions Regulator indicated that it is investigating hundreds of them about their compliance with the legislation and may take enforcement action regarding non-compliance. The financial penalties for non-compliance are significant but it also serves to highlight the complexity of complying with the legislation.

The guidance provided within this website is subject to the UK regulatory regime and is therefore primarily targeted at consumers based in the UK.

Cherry May Financial Planning Ltd is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

Cherry May Financial Planning Ltd is registered in England and Wales under reference 10260896. Registered office address: Pynes Hill Business Centre, Pynes Hill, Exeter, Devon, EX2 5JL

The Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) is an agency for arbitrating on unresolved complaints between regulated firms and their clients. Full details of the FOS can be found on their website at