How your situation affects your workplace pension

Whether you'll be automatically enrolled in a workplace pension depends on your age and how much you earn. The following examples explain how your situation affects your workplace pension.

Not in your employer's pension

If you're not already in your employer's pension one of the five examples below might apply to you.

Earning £6,240 or less a year and are aged 16 or over but under 75

Your employer will not automatically enrol you in their workplace pension. But you have the right to ask them to enrol you in a pension if you want. Your employer does not have to contribute but can choose to do so. You might also get some tax relief from the government – check with whoever runs your pension scheme.

Earning more than £6,240 up to £10,000 a year and are aged 16 or over but under 75

Your employer will not automatically enrol you in their workplace pension. But you have the right to join the pension if you want. You and your employer will both pay into it. You might also get some tax relief from the government – check with whoever runs your pension scheme.

Earning more than £10,000 a year but are younger than 22

If you’re aged between 16 and 21, your employer will not automatically enrol you in their workplace pension. But you have the right to join if you want. You and your employer will both contribute. You would also get a contribution from the government in the form of tax relief.

Earning more than £10,000 a year, are aged 22 or over but under State Pension age

You’ll be automatically enrolled in a workplace pension by your employer. You and your employer will both pay into it. You'll also get a contribution from the government in the form of tax relief.

Earning more than £10,000 a year but are State Pension age or older

If you have reached State Pension age but are under 75, your employer will not automatically enrol you in their workplace pension. But you have the right to join if you want. You and your employer will both contribute. You might also get a contribution from the government in the form of tax relief.

In your employer’s pension

If you're already enrolled in a workplace pension, your employer doesn't need to enrol you in another workplace pension. This is as long as the workplace pension meets the government’s standards. If you want more information, ask your employer or whoever runs your pension scheme.

Income varies over the year

If you earn less than £10,000 a year (which is £192 a week or £833 a month), your employer won’t automatically enrol you in a workplace pension. However, if you receive additional earnings (for example paid overtime) that means your pay in a single pay packet will be more than this, your employer will automatically enrol you in a workplace pension.

Self-employed or a ‘single person director’

You do not have to enrol yourself in a workplace pension. However, it’s a good idea to think about what income you’ll have to live on when you retire. You might want to put some plans in place for your later life, such as starting a personal pension, if you haven’t already done so.

You could choose a personal or stakeholder pension available from various pension providers. Or you may wish to use the National Employment Saving Trust (NEST). NEST is a trust-based workplace pension scheme developed to suit most people.

You should consider seeking independent financial advice. Alternatively, you can contact the Money Advice Service or the Pensions Advisory Service.

You are a ‘single person director’ if you are a director of a company and the only worker in that company.

The earnings figures

If you earn more than £10,000 a year (even one penny more) and you meet the other criteria, your employer will enrol you in their workplace pension.

If you earn more than £6,240 a year (even one penny more) and you are in a workplace pension, your employer has to contribute to it. If you earn £6,240 or less a year, your employer does not have to contribute, but can choose to do so.

These earnings figures apply if you are paid daily, weekly, monthly, or every four weeks.

Maternity and other parental leave

You and your employer will continue to make pension contributions if you’re getting paid during maternity leave

Statutory maternity leave

If you’re not getting paid, your employer still has to make pension contributions in the first 26 weeks of your leave. They have to carry on making contributions afterwards if it’s in your contract. Check your employer’s maternity policy.

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