Automatic enrolment: technical changes (2017)

13 February 2017

A consultation has been published which seeks views on two changes for new employers due to become subject to automatic enrolment duties during 2017.

The two changes proposed in the draft regulations are:

  • a change to the automatic enrolment duties trigger date set out in legislation for these new employers (known as post-staging employers) to the day on which the first worker begins to be employed by the employer.
  • extending to these new employers the option to defer automatic enrolment for their workers (currently this postponement is available only to employers in the staging profile). This will be known as the ‘deferral’ period.

The regulations package on which the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) is consulting is being made in advance of the outcome of the 2017 Review of automatic enrolment, which will look at whether AE continues to meet the needs of individuals saving for their retirement in the future. The measures need to be in place before the existing provisions in the Employers’ Duties (Implementation) Regulations 2010 start to apply to new employers in April 2017.

The DWP is seeking views on the operation of the draft Statutory Instrument and would welcome stakeholder comments on whether these regulations will work in practice to achieve the policy intent of providing a clear and straightforward compliance framework for newly created employers so that they understand when the AE duties will apply to them.

The DWP also want to ensure that pensions industry professionals, including: scheme administrators; payroll administrators; accountants; payroll bureaux; independent financial advisers and employee benefit consultants can scrutinise the proposed changes and advise them of any concerns they might have about the draft regulations; and whether they foresee any unintended consequences for employers or individual savers.

This consultation closes at 4pm on 3 March 2017.

The DWP intend to publish a response to the consultation in March 2017 with the regulations due to come force on 1 April 2017. The regulations amend the existing Occupational and Personal Pension Schemes (Automatic Enrolment) Regulations 2010 and the Employers’ Duties (Implementation) Regulations 2010.