Auto Enrolment – Communications

In our previous articles on Auto-Enrolment – Getting Started and the next steps, we covered the initial actions, assessment process and contributions payable. In this article we will cover the communications required to be issued to the employees.

There are some communications that you, as an employer, must send to your workers. These need to be within certain time periods after the staging date. For example an eligible jobholder must be given certain information by the employer within six weeks of the staging date.

Auto-Enrolment Communications FileBut you may wish to consider other communications to your workers before the staging date.

The information that must be sent to workers must be sent in writing (this can be sent by email). There is specific information that must be sent to different types of workers – eligible jobholders, non-eligible jobholders and entitled workers.

You may want some help to perform these tasks. In some cases the pension scheme you have chosen may help with many of the providers operating the schemes via an online portal, which automatically issues and manages the communication process for you. Alternatively your payroll software may include a pension portal, which manage and issues the appropriate communications (this can be via an additional module you have to purchase).

The Pensions Regulator also provides guidance in relation to communicating with your employees at http://www.thepensionsregulator.gov.uk/employers/communicating-with-your-scheme-members.aspx.

Other communications

It will be a good idea to issue other communications to your workers in order to reduce the number of queries you may have to deal with.

For example you may want to answer your workers’ questions by providing information in the format of ‘frequently asked questions’ at the same time as the letter. Posters could also be displayed at the workplace giving some key information about auto enrolment or you can ask your pension provider or Financial Advisor to make a presentation to your employees.

When workers have been automatically enrolled they may need to be reminded about why there is a change in their payslip.

There are some things you can’t do

An eligible jobholder has the right to opt out of auto enrolment if they wish. So the letter to this type of worker must include details of how they can opt out. However you cannot encourage the worker to opt out. For example an employer cannot offer a higher salary to an employee who opts out or deny a promotion to an employee who has not opted out.

The eligible jobholder can opt out of auto-enrolment at any time; however, if they choose to opt out within one month of the provision of the initial enrolment notifications then they are treated as never being enrolled into the scheme and any contributions they have made are refunded. Should they opt out at a later date then in most cases they will be cease to make contributions from the next pay period, subject to the rules of your scheme.

It is important that you communicate with all workers, as non-eligible jobholders have the right to opt into the scheme and be treated as eligible jobholders. Entitled workers also have the right to opt in, but there is no requirement for employers to make employer contributions on their behalf.

Communications with the workers is an on-going process for example, when someone who was a non-eligible jobholder becomes an eligible jobholder due to becoming 22, new workers joining the business or opt out periods coming to an end.

In order to be able to demonstrate your compliance with Auto-Enrolment it is important that you are registered with the Pension regulator and records are maintained, we will cover these requirements in our next article on Auto-Enrolment.

Essex Abel provide a full payroll bureau service, including Auto-Enrolment, for further information in relation to this or any other matter, please contact us.

The information contained herein is of a general nature and is not intended to address the circumstances of any particular individual or entity. Although we endeavour to provide accurate and timely information, there can be no guarantee that such information is accurate as of the date received or that it will continue to be accurate in the future. No one should act on such information without appropriate professional advice after a thorough examination of the particular situation. Neither Essex Abel Ltd nor the author accept any responsibility whatsoever for any action taken based upon the information included in this articles.