According to a recent survey by HW Fisher and Company, over two-thirds of SMEs do not know their auto-enrolment staging date and 49% of those SMEs surveyed said they knew little or nothing about the auto-enrolment requirements. In addition to this, 77% said that they had done nothing to prepare for auto-enrolment.
From a date after October 2012, businesses will be required to automatically enrol eligible employees in a pension scheme, unless the employees opt-out of the scheme. The requirement will be phased in over five and a half years from October 2012, with larger businesses required to comply first.
There is a misconception by many SMEs that small businesses will be exempt from the auto-enrolment requirements. If true, this would exclude around 1.3 million employees from the reforms.
To be eligible for automatic enrolment, the employee must earn more than the income tax threshold (currently £10,000) and must be aged between 22 years old and the state pension age.
The staging date for businesses that have between 50 and 249 employees is between 1st April 2014 and 1st April 2015. The staging date for businesses that have less than 50 employees is between 1st June 2015 and 1st April 2017.
Businesses can bring forward their staging dates, if they notify the Pensions Regulator and have a qualifying scheme available.
To find out your auto-enrolment staging date then please click on this link to the Pensions Regulator.