When is my auto enrolment staging date?

The auto enrolment staging date is the date by which a business needs to have a workplace pensions scheme in place, and auto enrol their workers into it.

All eligible workers aged between 22 and the state retirement age who are paid £833 a month or more must be auto enrolled. Non-eligible workers may join a pension scheme, but can do so voluntarily. Employees can also opt out of a scheme.

What happens if you do not know your staging date?

The Pensions Regulator, a government funded body, makes sure that businesses conform to their auto enrolment obligations. The organisation should have sent your business a letter with your staging date.

If you have lost this letter, or it was not received, you can find your staging date by filling in a simple form at the Pensions Regulator website.

You will need your PAYE reference number. If you do not know yours, most letters from HMRC will contain it. You can contact your HMRC office or the Pensions Regulator who will retrieve it for you.

If your business does not pay its staff through a PAYE scheme, then your staging date was April 1, 2017.

New businesses

With new businesses, your staging date depends on when you first started paying employers:

• If you are a new business that started paying employees after April 1, 2017, you may not have received a staging date letter for the Pensions Regulator.
• If your first starting paying employees between April 2, 2017 and June 30, 2017, your staging date is January 1, 2018.
• If you started paying employees between July 1, 2017 and September 30, 2017, your staging date is February 1, 2018.
• If a business starts paying employees after October 1, 2017, the business must start the auto-enrolment process for all eligible employees who commence employment. The Pensions Regulator has a step-by-step guide on how to do this.

What happens if you miss the staging date?

Small business owners can be extremely busy and either forget about or put off their auto enrolment duties when the staging date arrives.

If it is less than six, weeks since your staging date you may postpone auto enrolment for three months, provided you take steps to set up a pension scheme and backdate contributions from the staging date. You need to inform the Pensions Regulator that you have missed the staging date and tell them what steps you are taking to remedy the situation.

Your employees must be kept informed in writing at all times about the situation.

If you miss the staging date by over six weeks, you could be liable to a fine by the Pensions Regulator. If the fine is not paid, your business could be taken to court and your credit rating will be affected.

If unsure, seek advice

Whether you are unsure about your staging date, or are not fully prepared to launch your workplace pension scheme, talk to an advisor at Endeavour Financial Planning for further help. We provide impartial expert financial advice for businesses and individuals.

Auto Enrolment advice is not regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

Posted by Mark
17th October 2017


All blogs and news on Endeavour Financial Planning are for information purposes only and are not intended to provide advice. Please seek the advice of a financial advisor before making any financial decisions.


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