General

1 - What is Pension Auto-Enrolment?

This is a new legislative requirement for every employer to automatically enrol all eligible employees into a qualifying pension scheme

2 - Why is this happening?

A large number of the working population in the UK are not saving enough for retirement or taking advantage of private pension schemes that may be on offer. In general, we are all living longer and have an increasing proportion of people of retirement age compared to those of working age. Auto-enrolment is a part of a Government initiative to increase private retirement savings.

3 - When was it implemented?

For Compass Group employees auto-enrolment legislation applied from 1/11/12, although Compass decided to utilise a permitted waiting period of up to 3 months and so auto-enrolment triggered for existing employees from 2/1/13.

4 - Does this affect all employers irrespective of size?

Yes, although implementation dates vary from October 2012 to April 2017 for employers registered for PAYE as at April 2012, commencing with larger employers. Employers who register for PAYE after April 2012 have staging dates from 2017 to 2018.

5 - What does this mean?

Enrolment is automated, subject to the criteria above. It  will be a continuous process, undertaken each payroll period, in order to capture new starters and those employees who become eligible due to age or earnings now reaching the required earnings threshold. Employees can exercise their right to opt-out, but even if they do, thhe whole process must be repeated broadly every three years from the initial staging date and so employees will be auto-enrolled again at that time.

6 - What about new starters?

Information about auto-enrolment will be issued to them once a start date has been confirmed. A 3 months deferment period will be applied from their start date and they will receive a direct communication (postal or via email for casual workers) clearly detailing when auto-enrolment will be triggered if they fulfil the eligibility criteria out-lined previously.

7 - What happens if an employee wishes to join the auto enrolment scheme during their waiting period?

Employees can exercise their right to opt-in during their waiting period by completing an opt-in form (available on the intranet) and submitting this to the HR Shared Services in Parklands, Birmingham.

8 - How often are the threshold values changed?

These will be reviewed annually by the Government and will apply in line with the tax year. Currently these are aligned to NI and PAYE thresholds but there is no guarantee that this relationship will remain.

9 - Can employees still join CRISP (Compass Retirement Income Savings Plan) if eligible?

Yes, there is no restriction on joining our main scheme on completion of 2 years' service. Information is provided to all new starters with their offer letter.

10 - What communications will I receive from the Company?

You will receive two communications from the Company with regard auto-enrolment. The first will be the General Notice letter (please click here) and the second will be the Tailored Notice (please click here).

The General Notice provides information about automatic enrolment but also confirms that the Company has opted to use the 3 month deferral that is allowed for in the legislation. No assessment as to whether or not you are eligible for automatic enrolment has been made at the point that this letter is sent.

The Tailored Letter is sent once we have assessed your employment and earnings status against the criteria and you meet the requirement.

11 - Will communications on auto-enrolment only be issued in English?

Direct communication with employees (via post or email for our casual workers) will be in English, however translations in other common languages are available on request from HR Service Centre.

12 - I have joined NEST - can I transfer across pension rights I had built up with a previous employer or in a Personal Pension?

Some transfers in are permitted from April 2017 onwards. A form which NEST require to be completed can be found on their website.

13 - How can an employee get an idea on what monies to expect from their pension?

Pension providers will issue pension estimates/projections. The use of an on-line calculator may also help to work out income on retirement. Please see www.nestpensions.org/uk/pension-calculator.

14 - What about employees whose circumstances change e.g. age or salary?

Each pay reference period (e.g. weekly, monthly) an automated process will pick up those who move into a different eligibility category, generating mandatory communications as appropriate in line with the legislation.