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Auto-enrolment Exemptions

Newsletter issue - May 2015.

Have you received a letter from The Pension Regulator (TPR) telling you to "ACT NOW" to prepare for auto-enrolment? The letter gives you just a few weeks to nominate a contact to receive communications about auto-enrolment, with the threat of fines or prosecution if you don't take action.

The "staging date" for your business will be stated in the letter. This is the date by which you must have a pension scheme ready for your employees to join, if you do indeed need one.

A large number of small companies will be exempt from auto-enrolment, if they don't technically have any "workers" at their staging date. A company director is not a "worker" if he or she does not have a contract of employment with the company. A company with no staff other than directors has no obligations under auto-enrolment if any of the following apply:

  • It has only one director; or
  • It has a number of directors, but none of those have an employment contract; or
  • It has a number of directors, only one of whom has an employment contract.

TPR doesn't know which directors in which small companies have employment contracts. If you receive a TPR letter asking for a contact to be established for auto-enrolment, you can get TPR off your back with one email to: customersupport@autoenrol.tpr.gov.uk . This should open a structured email in which you need to insert your: PAYE reference, Companies House reference and the letter code from the TPR letter.

If your company does have staff other than its directors, we should talk about what preparations you need to make to get ready for auto-enrolment.