Why bring your staging date forward?

Prepare! Plan! Action!

Is the mantra being shouted by pension advisors, payroll providers, the Pensions Regulator and accountants across the country when it comes to Auto Enrolment.

So if you’ve been listening, you may be ready well in advance of your staging date and might be considering bringing the introduction of your workplace pension forward.

This is certainly worth considering if you have set up your workplace pension scheme (Auto Enrolment Pension/Qualifying Scheme), checked that your Payroll Software functionality can handle the changes and fully understand your role in the process and specific administrative duties.

From our experience there is certainly no reason to delay the rollout of your Auto Enrolment pension scheme if your business is ready and willing to start paying employer contributions earlier than you legally have to.

We would recommend you think about the way you plan the roll out of the scheme and to help we have considered two of the most common options that businesses take.

Option 1: Moving your Staging Date forward

The most straightforward way to introduce your Auto Enrolment scheme early is to bring forward your company staging date.  It is a very easy process, simply visit the Pension Regulator website and follow a few instructions.

Then once this is done and your staging date has been moved forward you can go ahead and roll out your pension scheme. The only remaining thing to do is to complete the declaration of compliance on the 5 month deadline.

Follow the link to find out more about bringing forward your staging date.

Click the link here to complete your declaration of compliance

Option 2: Introduce your Pension Scheme early but retain your existing Staging Date

Some businesses have chosen to introduce their pension scheme early but keep their existing staging date.

From a distance this might seem to be a good idea, the business looks like a best practice employer to their employees by offering a pension scheme early on a voluntary basis and then further down the line anyone who didn’t choose to join will be assessed at the company staging date and be automatically enrolled if they qualify.

However, this complicates the process and creates additional work for very little benefit, or cost saving, if any at all.

Using this option would mean you send out letters to all of your employees asking them if they would like to join a pension scheme and deal with their responses. Then a few months later you are going to have to write to them and explain that they have either been automatically enrolled within the scheme or can opt in if they wish.

So not only does it create additional administrative work for the business but is likely to confuse your employees at the same time.

In summary

As an employer you have automatic enrolment duties which require you to assess and enrol employees who qualify, or in turn offer those that don’t qualify, the option to opt in to the pension scheme.

So if you are well prepared and itching to get started early, rather than over complicating an already complicated process just apply to bring forward your staging date and introduce your scheme using the rules outlined by The Pension Regulator.

In the end the same result is achieved. Employees that want to start paying into a scheme can and those that don’t have the option to opt out.

Help and Advice

If you need help understanding the implications of auto-enrolment on your business, in particular those around the management of payroll give our team a call on 0117 935 3500.

 

 

Simon Wells

Business Development at Qtac Software & Outsourcing
Simon Wells has extensive understanding of the payroll process and has been working at Qtac prior to the introduction of Real Time Information and Automatic Enrolment Pensions. With experience in outsourced payroll services Simon has a unique understanding of payroll processing within a bureau environment.
Simon Wells