• Pay & Benefits
Peninsula Logo

Peninsula Group, HR and Health & Safety Experts

(Last updated )

Read our Pensions advice guides for employers, or contact us for further HR, Health & Safety and Employment law advice.

By 2018, all UK employers will be required by law to automatically enrol eligible members of staff into a workplace pension scheme. The auto-enrolment system was initially introduced in October 2012 as a legal requirement for large organisations only, with smaller organisations phased into the scheme year on year. It will eventually be the obligation of all employers to establish their own pension scheme or use the government scheme set up specifically for this purpose.

Who is eligible?

Employers are required to enrol workers – both part-time and full-time – in a workplace pension scheme providing they meet the following criteria:

  • The employee works in the UK.
  • The employee earns more than £10,000 a year (tax year 2016-17)
  • The employee is not already in a suitable workplace pension scheme
  • The employee is at least 22 years old, but under State Pension age

Opting out

Although all eligible employees must be automatically enrolled whether they want to or not, individuals can then choose to  ‘opt out’ of the scheme at any time. However, the employer must follow the same process again to automatically enrol these workers in a pension scheme three years later.

Categories and employer contribution

Employees are assigned a particular category depending on their age and level of income. This category then determines whether or not the employer has to contribute to the pension, and how much they are due to pay in. Employers must initially contribute a minimum of 1%, but this level will increase to 2% from April 2018 – March 2019 and then 3% thereafter.

The law behind pensions

The Pensions Act 2008 is the main legislation covering workplace pensions.


  • By 2018, all employers must automatically enrol their eligible employees in a workplace pension scheme.
  • Once automatically enrolled, employees then have the option to opt out if they wish, however they must be automatically re-enrolled once three years has passed.
  • Employer contribution is set at an initial 1%, rising to 3% as of April 2019.


Got a question? Check whether we’ve already answered it for you…

Related articles

  • An employee asking for a pay raise.


    Pay Rise Request

    In this guide, we'll look at what a pay rise is, when employees can request them, and how to manage them correctly.

    Peninsula GroupHR and Health & Safety Experts
    • Pay & Benefits
  • Guide

    Drugs and alcohol policy

    In this guide, we'll look at the risks associated with drug and alcohol misuse in the workplace, how to limit them and how to support staff struggling with substance misuse.

    Peninsula GroupHR and Health & Safety Experts
    • HR Policies Documentation
  • Guide

    Email Usage Policy

    Read our Email Usage Policy advice guides for employers, or contact us for further HR, Health & Safety and Employment law advice.

    Peninsula GroupHR and Health & Safety Experts
    • HR Policies Documentation
Back to resource hub

Try Peninsula for free today

See for yourself why Peninsula is the UK’s favourite HR and health & safety provider. Tap below to unlock free advice, policies, e-learning, and more.

Sign up to our newsletter

Get the latest news & tips that matter most to your business in our monthly newsletter.

International sites

© 2023 Peninsula Business Services Limited. Registered Office: The Peninsula, Victoria Place, Manchester, M4 4FB. Registered in England and Wales No: 1702759. Peninsula Business Services Limited is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority for the sale of non-investment insurance contracts.

ISO 27001 and 9001 accredited company.
The Sunday Times - Top Track 250.
Glassdoor 2018 Best Places To Work.