The Covid-19 pandemic has introduced many challenges for employers. However, despite the pandemic, their responsibilities in relation to auto enrolment remain the same. The employer’s on-going duties include their re-enrolment and re-declaration obligations.
Every 3 years, the employer must put certain members of staff back into their auto enrolment pension scheme and complete a declaration to tell The Pensions Regulator that they have done so. This is known as re-enrolment and re-declaration.
The key date is the third anniversary of the employer’s staging date or start date. Thereafter, the re-enrolment and re-declaration processes must be undertaken at three-year intervals.
Under re-enrolment, the employer must check:
- whether they have the staff to put back into the pension scheme and get an auto re-enrollment done
- write to staff who have been are-enrolled.
To do this, the employer will need to assess staff who have left the scheme or who have reduced their contributions.
Staff must be enrolled in a pension scheme automatically if:
- they are aged between 22 and State Pension Age.
- they earn over £10,000 a year (£833 a month, £192 a week).
If staff who meet the above criteria have previously opted out, they need to be re-enrolled. The staff that needs to be re-enrolled should be put back into the pension scheme within 6 weeks of the re-enrolment date. If this date is missed, it should be done within 6 weeks of the date on which staff were assessed.
If an employee does not want to be a member of the scheme, they can opt-out. However, they must be re-enrolled if they are eligible at the re-enrolment date; once re-enrolled they can opt-out. Opting out lasts only until the next re-enrolment date, at which time they must be put back in (but can then opt-out again if they want to). Employers must re-enroll eligible staff even if they know they want to opt-out.
Once staff has been re-enrolled, the employer must deduct employee contributions from their pay and pay them over to the scheme with the employer contributions.
The employer must write to staff who have been re-enrolled to let them know, and also inform them of the contributions that will be paid and that they can opt-out if they want to.
The final stage of the re-enrolment and re-declaration process is to submit the re-declaration of compliance. This has to be done regardless of whether or not staff has been put back into the pension scheme.
The re-declaration of compliance is an online form that confirms to the Pensions Regulator the employer has met their legal obligations in relation to auto-enrolment. The re-declaration of compliance must be filed no later than 5 months from the third anniversary of the duties start date, or staging date, as appropriate. The deadline is the same regardless of whether staff within 6 weeks are assessed within of the re-enrolment date, or at a later date.