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Don't qualify for auto-enrolment? You can still opt into a pension

Some workers won't be auto-enrolled over the next couple of years, but that doesn't mean they have to miss out on saving for a pension.


by Michelle McGagh on Oct 31, 2012 at 15:53

Don't qualify for auto-enrolment? You can still opt into a pension

Auto-enrolment is here, and most people who are not currently saving into a workplace pension will see themselves automatically placed into one. But if you fall outside the auto-enrolment remit you don’t have to miss out on the benefits of your employer’s pension scheme.

Auto-enrolment will only apply to people who meet certain age and earnings criteria. If you are aged between 22 and the state pension age, and earn more than £8,105 a year, then you will be auto-enrolled in a scheme.

If you meet the criteria and have still not been auto-enrolled, don’t worry – the government is phasing in auto-enrolment starting with the biggest employers, so you will auto-enrolled at a later date.

Companies with between 50 and 249 staff must implement auto-enrolment between 1 April 2014 and 1 April 2015, those with 30 to 49 staff between 1 August 2015 and 1 October 2015, and those with fewer than 30 staff must have auto-enrolment in place between 1 January 2016 and 1 April 2017.

If you are being auto-enrolled 1% of your salary over £5,564 but under £42,475, will be saved for you – this figure is known as ‘qualifying earnings’. Your employer will save the same amount.

These percentages will increase over coming years.

What if I don’t qualify?

If you don’t qualify you don’t have to miss out on saving for your retirement – you can still ask to join the scheme. Just as those who are auto-enrolled will have to opt out if they don’t want to save for their retirement, those who do not qualify for auto-enrolment have to opt in.

People who do not qualify for auto-enrolment – around 3.5 million workers – are split into two groups: non-eligible job holders and entitled workers.

Non-eligible job holders

These people are not eligible for auto-enrolment, but can choose to opt into a pension scheme and receive employer contributions. Employees must be at least 16 years old but under 75, work in the UK and have earnings above £5,564 but below the earnings trigger for auto-enrolment of £8,105.

Around 40% of the people who will not be auto-enrolled will be non-eligible job holders.

Entitled workers

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1 comment so far. Why not have your say?


Oct 31, 2012 at 23:41

Ha, ha! Good old fashioned pension trickery.

The state pension benefits any one who enrols will be sacrificing have been officially estimated as equivalent to a pension pot of £250,000.

Who is the average wage earner who can build up more? It is criminal to con people into such schemes which have clearly been designed to benefit the the government and the pension companies. Avoid it like poison..

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