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What is automatic enrolment?

4.4.1 The Pensions Act 2011 places a requirement on all employers to identify workers who earn over the automatic enrolment earnings trigger, are aged 22 or over, and under State Pension age to be automatically enrolled into a qualifying workplace pension scheme. This includes temporary workers.

4.4.2 Automatic enrolment was introduced over a period of several years, starting from autumn 2012. Each employer had a date on which they had to begin the process of automatic enrolment. This is referred to as the ‘staging date’. The Pensions Regulator (TPR) wrote to the Permanent Secretary (or equivalent) of each employer approximately 12 months prior to their staging date to advise them to prepare for automatic enrolment. TPR also sent out a reminder approximately 3 months before the employer’s staging date.

4.4.3 The Civil Service already enrolled the majority of new entrants into a qualifying pension scheme, and the Minister for the Cabinet Office (MCO) decided that this would continue irrespective of the wider eligibility criteria in the legislation. This decision was extended to cover the automatic enrolment of all civil servants not in a qualifying pension scheme at the departments’ staging date and at the anniversary date (see following paragraph).

4.4.4 Workers can choose to opt out of the scheme once they have been automatically enrolled. However, under automatic enrolment legislation, departments must re-enrol all workers who are not currently in a pension scheme three years after the initial staging date and at every three year interval following this. This is known as the ‘anniversary date’. For those who have opted out of the Civil Service Pension (CSP) arrangements the section/scheme they should be enrolled into when they are re-enrolled will depend on whether they qualified for full protection (where they will return to their previous scheme), tapered enrolment (opting in before or after their tapered enrolment date will see them join their old scheme or alpha respectively), or have no protection (they will join alpha). The Scheme Administrator will be able to assist you in identifying which section of the CSP arrangements to re-enrol optants out into.

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