So you know your Auto Enrolment deadlines, you’ve assessed the eligibility of your workforce, ensured your pension scheme qualifies, and communicated the necessary information to your employees.
But don’t stumble at the final hurdle - let’s just consider the last few tasks to ensure you are fully compliant with Auto Enrolment legislation.
The principle of teaching children the ‘three R’s’ might have been a Victorian notion, but when it comes to Auto Enrolment a similar rule of thumb works well today:
- (En)rolling your eligible jobholders
- Registering with The Pensions Regulator
- Record-keeping of necessary data
Once these are done, you can be confident you’ve dotted all the i’s and crossed all the t’s for a smooth transition to Auto Enrolment, without risking the teacher’s cane.
The three R’s in detail…
1. Enrol your eligible jobholders (and anyone else who has opted in)
Having conducted your assessment of your workforce you will have established which staff are eligible jobholders. You may well also have been informed by other employees (non-eligible jobholders and entitled workers) that they wish to enrol voluntarily. So you have all of that information…but your pension scheme provider isn’t psychic!
It’s an obvious point, but one which would be disastrous to overlook: you must ensure all these eligible staff are actually enrolled in your pension scheme by sending your scheme provider the information they need to make them active members of the scheme. Do this as soon as you can to give time for any queries to be resolved and allow for delays at the scheme providers end, who may be inundated with AE-related work at this time.
2. Register with The Pensions Regulator
The Pensions Regulator requires that you register a legal statement with them, known as a Declaration of Compliance, within 5 calendar months of your staging date. This is an online form giving The Pensions Regulator details of all your employees (whether eligible or not), and of the pension scheme you are using; proving to them that you have met all your legal duties.
The Declaration of Compliance can’t be completed until after your staging date, but it can be started well before this date, and filled in as and when you gather your information (the online form saves updates as you make them). Larger companies in particular would be advised to start filling it in well ahead of time.
A useful Declaration of Compliance checklist to help you determine what information the Regulator needs is available on their website. I would advise downloading this to help you tick all the boxes:
3. Keep the required records up to date
Keeping certain records regarding your employees and their pension eligibility is not only a legal requirement, but makes good business sense.
By law, you are required to keep records about:
- Your eligible jobholders (names, NI numbers, earnings and contributions, opt-in notices, joining notices etc)
- Your pension scheme (reference number and scheme provider contact details etc)
You must keep these for a minimum of 6 years, except opt-out notices which you must keep for 4 years.
And you must be able to provide these records for The Pensions Regulator on request at any time.
What’s the best way of collecting and storing these records?
The good news is, you can use your existing payroll system for this, making AE record-keeping a normal part of regular payroll administration: no extra homework needed.
However, do make sure your payroll software is capable of carrying out all AE tasks – including ongoing eligibility assessment, producing employee communications, calculating and taking appropriate deductions, managing opt-ins, opt-outs and deferments, generating and sending data to your pension provider, and holding information for the requisite 6 years.
Also make sure you know which documents should also be kept as hard copies (opt-ins, opt-outs and joining letters).
For detailed guidance from The Pensions Regulator on record-keeping, see their guide at: http://www.thepensionsregulator.gov.uk/docs/detailed-guidance-9.pdf
Sounds like a lot of extra admin?
If you feel like adding these Auto Enrolment tasks to your already-stretched finance team sounds worse than after-school detention, get some extra tutoring in the shape of Cashtrak.
We have years of payroll expertise and up-to-date software, and can take on as many or as few payroll tasks as you need us to, including managing pensions and auto enrolment.
See http://www.cashtrak.co.uk/page/payroll/ for a full run-down of our payroll services, and go straight to the top of the class on Auto Enrolment.