Auto-pension countdown ticking

John Greenwood traces the government’s pension auto-enrolment timeline as more employers prepare for take-up

18-12 months to auto-enrolment

-          Nominate the contact for correspondence from the Pensions Regulator.

-          Work out your staging date; you can find it on the Pensions Regulator’s website.

-          Set up your auto-enrolment project team, including representatives from HR, pensions, payroll, finance and communications.

-          Assess who in your organisation needs to be automatically enrolled.

-          Engage a pension adviser if necessary.

-          Review what existing provision you have for pensions and other benefits.

12-9 months

-          Calculate the costs of auto-enrolment for your organisation; decide on what sort of scheme to offer.

-          Decide on how auto-enrolment fits within your overall reward strategy and the benefits philosophy of your organisation; consider how auto-enrolment will impact on other benefits.

-          Formulate your strategy for managing data; decide whether to use your existing payroll provider, middleware from a pension provider, a third-party data hub or a flexible benefits system.

-          Start training relevant employees, including pension and payroll staff, and trustees if appropriate.

-          Consider your communications strategy.

9-3 months

-          Finalise selection of pension provider.

-          Put your data management strategy in place and cleanse data.

3 months to go

-          Test HR and payroll systems with pension provider.

-          Test record-keeping system.

-          Start initial communications to employees.

-          Enrol eligible staff in qualifying pension scheme.

After auto-enrolment

-          Maintain records of employee contributions, qualifying earnings and opt-outs.

-          Register with the Pensions Regulator.

-          Monitor pension scheme on an ongoing basis to ensure it remains up to standard.

-          Enrol new employees after three months.

-          Every three years, re-enrol all employees who opted out, unless they did so within the last 12 months.

-          Increase contributions in 2017 and 2018.