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Am I entitled to a workplace pension?
Currently, not all employers offer a workplace pension that they contribute to, although they should at least have a Stakeholder scheme you can join.
However, this is changing fast. Pensions auto-enrolment is being gradually rolled out. The process began in 2012 with the largest employers and it will end in 2018. It has reached the stage of being gradually rolled out to employers of fewer than 30 employees.
Under auto-enrolment, qualifying workers must be enrolled into a scheme that meets specific standards. That includes having a minimum level of employer and overall contributions (including member contributions).
The new law requires every employer to automatically enrol workers into a workplace pension scheme if they:
- are aged at least 22 but under state pension age;
- earn at least £10,000 a year; and
- work or normally work in the UK.
Workers who are aged between 16 and 21, or between state pension age and 74, can ask to opt in if they earn over the £10,000 threshold.
Workers aged between 16 and 74 who earn below £10,000 but at least £5,824 can also ask to opt in.
Workers who earn below that will be entitled to join a scheme but the employer won’t have to contribute.
It is against the law for any employer to:
- induce workers to opt out of a qualifying pension scheme;
- ask during recruitment whether they plan to opt out; or
- penalise them in any way for enforcing their pension rights.
You can find out more about auto enrolment from the website of the Pensions Advisory Service, which also runs a free helpline on 0300 123 1047.