Auto enrolment update from The Pensions Regulator

23 January 2017

The year ahead

2017 promises to be a key year for the roll out of automatic enrolment. Up to 700,000 employers are due to stage in 2017 – the highest number since AE began in October 2012.  This year it is quite possible that business advisers will see a doubling, or even trebling, of the number of their clients staging each month, compared with 2016.

This will include new employers that first employed a worker between 2 April 2012 and 30 September 2017 who will reach their staging date between May 2017 and February 2018.

In addition:

  • Medium size employers, those with 50 to 500 staff in 2012, are expected to reach their re-enrolment date in the new financial year (2017/2018).
  • New employers from 1 October 2017 onwards will have immediate AE duties, starting on the contract start date of their first worker.

Latest declaration of compliance statistics

The latest report shows that by the end of December 2016 over 370,000 employers, with a total workforce of 24m, had completed their declaration of compliance and that 7.2m people have now been automatically enrolled.

The report shows both initial declarations and the number of employers that have completed their declaration after re-enrolment.

Free half-day business adviser seminars

The latest TPR hosted events, designed specifically for business advisers, have been arranged for:

Whether you’re new to AE or want some guidance on areas that advisers have told TPR they find more challenging, an expert team is on hand to help. They will provide comprehensive information about the tasks employers will need to complete to meet their ongoing duties, including re-enrolment, with plenty of opportunities throughout the day to ask questions about any aspect of the process.

You can register now for a free half-day morning or afternoon seminar – places are usually oversubscribed and are allocated on a first-come first-served basis, so don’t leave it too long before booking.

Free webinar on ‘supporting your clients through re-enrolment’

Help your clients meet their re-enrolment duties on time and register for a free webinar at 2pm on 14 February 2017. It is aimed at accountants, bookkeepers, payroll professionals and other business advisers.

If your client's staging date was in 2014, their re-enrolment duties will take place in 2017. These will vary depending on whether or not they have staff to enrol. TPR will be covering all the facts around re-enrolment - the process, choosing the right date, and explaining which staff need to be automatically re-enrolled.

There will also be a chance to put your questions to experts throughout.

The webinars continue to be extremely popular, with 97% of advisers saying they would be happy to attend another webinar – so register today.


TPR has received several questions about the changes to the AE regulations in April 2016, which allow employers to choose not to enrol, or re-enrol, certain individuals.  

These include:

  • Directors working under an employment contract who are not the sole employee
  • LLP partners who are not regarded as ‘salaried members’ under HMRC tax rules
  • People who are working their notice period
  • Individuals who have ceased active membership of a qualifying pension in the previous 12 months
  • People with HMRC tax protected status for their pension savings.

There is a common misunderstanding that, where the exception is applied, all AE duties are waived. Only the enrolment duty is optional, all other duties remain unchanged.

The individuals retain the right to ask to join or opt-in (except people working their notice), in which case the employer is obliged to enrol them.

Even if the employer is able to choose not to enrol all of their staff:

  • The employer still has to send the normal statutory letters and emails
  • Make a declaration of compliance, at the usual time.

You can find more information on TPR's website including details of director exemptions.