The Government has consulted on proposed new ‘staging dates’ into pension auto-enrolment for small and medium sized employers.

This consultation affects only those employers with a PAYE system with less than 250 persons. The staging dates for employers with 120,000 or more persons in their PAYE scheme are not affected and they will be drafted into compliance on the same dates as notified previously. Employers of this size should refer to Table 1 below for information on the date they should begin auto-enrolling their workers into a qualifying pension scheme.

Employers with a PAYE scheme of less than 250 persons as at 1st April 2012, or new employers who set up from 1st April 2012, should refer to Table 2 for their proposed new date. No proposed date is earlier than their initial planned implementation date. Note that these dates are still subject to confirmation, so are currently indicative only.

Also subject to consultation was what happens with employers with fewer than 50 workers who are part of a multiple employer PAYE scheme. The Pensions Regulator cannot separately identify employers who are part of a multiple employer PAYE scheme. This means that when an employer with 50 or more workers is staged in on the basis of the size of their PAYE scheme, any employer with fewer than 50 workers using the same PAYE scheme will be staged in at the same time. Therefore a definition for “small employer” has been created which allows an employer with fewer than 50 workers and who shares a staging date with a larger employer until and including 1st April 2015, to calculate the size of their actual workforce using a full time equivalent (FTE) formula. For the purpose of the definition of ‘small employer’, the number of FTE workers is calculated as TH/37.5, where TH is the total number of hours per week for which all the workers are contracted to work.

Where an employer determines that, on 1st April 2012, they are a small employer because their workforce is fewer than 50 full time equivalent workers, they will be prescribed a new staging date between 1st August 2015 and 1st April 2017. Affected employers should look at Table 1 or Table 2 for the date that would apply based on their PAYE scheme and then look at Table 3 for the corresponding new proposed date.