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Which workers qualify

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Checking which of your workers are eligible to be auto enrolled into your workplace pension is one of your key duties.

To do this you need to ‘assess’ your workers. This means you have to check how old every worker is and how much they earn.

Workers you need to enrol

The workers you have to enrol are known as eligible jobholders. They are workers who:

  • earn over £10,000 a year
  • and are aged between 22 and their State Pension age

Workers who can ask to join

If a worker isn’t an eligible jobholder, they can still ask to be enrolled. What you need to do depends on whether they’re what’s known as a non-eligible jobholder or an entitled worker.

Non-eligible jobholders

If a non-eligible jobholder asks to join, you must enrol them and make contributions. These are workers who:

  • earn over £10,000 a year
  • and are aged between 16 and 21 or between State Pension age and 74

or

  • earn above £6,240 and less than £10,000 a year
  • and are aged between 16 and 74

Entitled workers

If an entitled worker asks to join, you must enrol them – you don’t have to make contributions unless you choose to. These are workers who:

  • earn less than £6,240 a year
  • and are aged between 16 and 74

To see how much the annual earnings thresholds outlined above are in different pay periods, like monthly and weekly periods, you can visit The Pensions Regulator’s (TPR) website.

Common questions about these figures

We’ve put together some information to help you understand who you need to enrol.

As a minimum, you must assess and enrol eligible workers within six weeks of your duties starting. You can choose to delay doing this by up to three months, by using postponement.

The figures shown above are for the 2022/23 tax year. The government review the earnings thresholds every year, so these could change. Always make sure you’re using the latest figures.

The legal minimum contribution for eligible workers is 8% of their qualifying earnings. You have to pay at least 3% of this. You can pay more if you want to. If you just pay the minimum then your workers must contribute the rest, to make it up to 8%. A worker will get tax relief from the government on their contribution, if they’re eligible.

We can help you understand more about contribution levels, tax relief and qualifying earnings.

This is the age that eligible people can claim the State Pension. The State Pension is a regular payment from the government – the amount a person gets depends on their National Insurance record. You can use this calculator to check a worker’s State Pension age.

No, you must keep monitoring your workers every payday. If a worker isn’t eligible when they join but becomes eligible in the future, you have to enrol them.

If you want to enrol all your workers, even those who aren’t eligible, you should get guidance from your employment lawyer. As a minimum, workers who aren’t eligible would need to give you consent to take deductions from their pay. Workers can choose to opt in to your workplace pension if they want to.

Some payroll software can assess workers for you automatically. If you use a third-party administrator (TPA), they might be able to help you too. You can also find more information about assessing your workers in our help centre.

Different types of worker

You may employ staff who don’t work set hours or only work at certain times of the year for you, like at Christmas. You still have to assess these workers and enrol them if they’re eligible.

TPR has guidance that can help if you employ seasonal or temporary staff or workers whose hours and pay varies.

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