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Quick answers

What can we help you with?

The quick answers section addresses specific queries we’ve received from employers. Many of these answers will also link to articles for more detailed information.

Click on a category below to get help with your query:

How do I sign up to NEST?

You can sign up to NEST online. There are no additional paper forms to fill in.

How do I bring my staging date forward?

You can bring your staging date forward by filling out an online form on The Pensions Regulator’s website. You’ll need to check that we agree to the change first. You’ll need to call our contact centre on 0300 0200393 to provide us with some details.

Do I need to tell NEST that I am using a postponement period?

No, you don’t have to tell NEST if you’re using a postponement period. You must tell your workers at least six weeks before the date postponement starts.

How do I get the Employer notices in Word format?

Our Employer notices are available in a PDF document. We also have notice templates in Word format. You’ll need to read the PDF document first for guidance on which notices to use before you send them.

Download Employer notices (PDF)
Download Employer notices in Word format (DOCX)

How do I set-up NEST for payroll systems based on tax periods?

The UK tax year runs from 6 April to 5 April of the next year. Setting up a scheme to align with the tax year means that the first pay period of the year will have to begin on 6 April and then run regularly from this date.

You should check whether your payroll provider uses pay periods based around the tax year before setting up NEST. For example, Sage payroll defaults to pay periods based around the tax year. The set-up will determine how the scheme runs on an on-going basis and so getting it right at the beginning makes it easier to administer NEST on an ongoing basis.

For more information see Aligning payments to tax periods.

If you’ve already set-up your scheme and need to change your scheme to align to tax periods see Setting up NEST to align with tax periods.

How do I set up NEST on Sage 50 Payroll?

You’ll need to get in touch with Sage for help with this. You’ll find contact details for Sage’s technical support here.

What’s my ‘provider reference number’?

This is the number we give you when you set up NEST. It begins with ‘EMP’, for example EMP100024000. You can find it in the right-hand corner of your online account. You may be asked for this when adding NEST as a pension scheme in your payroll software.

Whats NESTs scheme reference number?

NEST’s scheme reference number is 00765918RD. You’ll need the scheme reference number when you’re setting up NEST on Sage payroll software.

Whats NESTs scheme registration number?

NEST’s scheme registration number is 12004537. You’ll need the scheme registration number while submitting the declaration of compliance with the Pensions regulator.

What are the SCON and ECON numbers for NEST?

NEST isn’t a contracting-out scheme so you won’t need to provide these numbers.

Can I change the details of a worker thats already been enrolled?

Yes, you can change the member’s details within six weeks of enrolment. However, if the member has activated their account or it’s been more than six weeks, then the member would need to log in to their account and update the details for themselves.

See Updating your worker’s details.

What’s the date format for enrolment dates and start dates in files?

NEST’s date format is YYYY-MM-DD. For example, if your worker’s start date is 1 April 2014 it should be written as 2014-04-01.

How does Direct Debit work with NEST?

This isn’t the kind of Direct Debit that goes out of your account automatically on an agreed date. Instead, you trigger collection of each payment by pressing the ‘Make payment’ button. This tells us you’re ready for payment to be collected and NEST will then request the money directly from your account using the Direct Debit process. Money is collected within the usual three to five working days. See Choosing Direct Debit.

What’s the difference between the enrolment date and the start date?

The enrolment date is the date that you’ve completed the member’s enrolment process. The start date is the date from which you want to pay contribution to NEST for your workers. The start date can either be the present date or up to 42 days in the past, it cannot be a future date. You can use your staging date, your deferred duty date if you’re using a waiting period or the date a worker becomes an eligible jobholder as your start date.

What are the common errors regarding start date while enrolling a worker?

  • We can’t enrol a member using a start date in the future. Please edit the member’s start date and upload the file again.

The start date is the date from which you want to pay contribution to NEST for your workers. However your start date cannot be a future date. It’s important to provide us with the correct start date because this date creates an expectation of contributions going forward and NEST will include this worker in contribution schedules from this date.

  • The start date you’ve entered isn’t valid. Please check the information you’ve entered is a valid calendar date in YYYY-MM-DD format and try again.

The date you’ve entered is either incorrect or in the wrong format. Please check and enter a valid date. The start date should be in the format YYYY-MM-DD. If you’ve created or edited your file in Microsoft excel the format might have been altered automatically. You’ll need to open the file, check the date format and amend if necessary.

  • The start date you’ve entered isn’t valid. You’ve enrolled this member before and the start date for this member’s new enrolment must be later than the start date of their previous enrolment. Please check the information you’ve entered and try again.

Please check and enter a correct start date for this member. As you’ve previously enrolled this member, the start date of the second enrolment can’t be earlier than the start date of the first enrolment. Please check the start date of the earlier enrolment.

How do I upload a CSV file for enrolling workers using file transfer?

To enrol workers using file transfer, you’ll have to set up SFTP and click on ‘Manage secure file transfer’ from your NEST home page.

Can I enrol workers without having to upload a file?

Yes, you can enrol workers one by one on our website using your NEST account. Click on ‘Manage workers’ from your NEST home page then choose ‘Enrol online’. This will take you to the screen for enrolling workers online.

When do I need to cancel an enrolment?

You may need to cancel a worker’s enrolment if you’ve enrolled them by mistake or if you’ve included incorrect information. You can normally do this within six weeks of a worker being enrolled.

Can I enrol some of my eligible workers into NEST before the staging date?

Yes you can. You should only use this enrolment type if the worker agrees to join NEST before your duties apply.

If you decide to start using NEST before your staging date the worker will be enrolled as a ‘voluntary member’. As the auto enrolment duties won’t apply, the worker won’t be legally entitled for an opt-out period.

For more information on meeting your duties please see Who do I need to enrol?

When is NESTs member welcome pack sent out?

We post the welcome pack on the business day after the member is enrolled. It could take up to five working days from that day for the member to receive it.

How do I upload a CSV file for enrolling workers using file transfer?

To enrol workers using file transfer, you’ll have to set up SFTP and click on ‘Manage secure file transfer’ from your NEST home page.

How can I fix a ‘post code is invalid’ error when Im enrolling a worker who doesnt live in the UK?

You just need to change the member’s status from ‘UK resident’ to ‘non-UK resident’ on the ‘Manage workers’ page. Then you won’t be asked for a post code.

What should I put for ‘payment source name’ in a member enrolment file?

This is the name you gave to your payment source when you set up NEST. It’s not the actual payment method you’ve chosen.

Do we enrol a worker who we employ outside of the UK?

The Pensions Regulator can help you with questions about automatic enrolment. You can find out more on their website.

How do I complete an opt out online?

To opt out your worker you’ll have to select the contribution schedule and click on ‘Options’. Then select ‘Member has opted out’ from the drop down list.

Why is my contribution schedule overdue?

  • There are a number of reasons why your schedule might be overdue.
    Is there a worker on the schedule with a status of ‘Action needed - not yet validated’? If so you’ll need to enter their pensionable earnings and contributions or tell us why you’re not making a contribution for them.
    Does a worker record have an error beside it? Click the white exclamation mark in the red circle at the end of the worker’s row for more information.
  • Has a worker been added to the contribution schedule after the other workers because they were enrolled later? You might still need to enter their contribution details or tell us why you’re not making a contribution for them.
  • Is a worker who’s opted out still showing on the schedule as ‘Action needed - not yet validated’? Their name will be greyed out onscreen. You’ll need to call us on 0300 020 0393 and ask us to move the schedule to ‘Paid’.
  • Are you seeing an error message telling you that the contributions you’ve entered are more than the minimum? Check you haven’t put the worker’s total pay in their pensionable earnings field.

What should I do when I get the error? ‘There has been an error in the system please try again later or call customer care’ after uploading a contribution schedule?

Please check that the length of the file name does not exceed 120 characters or have any spaces in it. You’ll also need to check that there are no special characters in the file name such as @, #, $ or %.

What do the error messages ‘Action needed - not yet validated’ and ‘Action needed – invalid’ mean?

  • Action needed - not yet validated - This status is automatically given to a member when they’re first added to a contribution schedule. This means that you haven’t yet provided any earnings and contribution information or a partial or non-payment reason for that member.
  • Action needed – invalid - You’ve provided invalid information for the member. For example, the contribution amounts are below the level we were expecting and you haven’t provided a reason for partial or non-payment of contributions. Click on the error icon under the Errors column for details of what you need to do.

Ive automatically enrolled my employees and some of them have opted out before any contributions have been taken. Do I have to deduct the first months contributions and then refund it or can I just opt them out before I take any deductions?

If a worker has opted out then we will not expect any contributions for them. If they opted out before you made any contributions that’s okay. There’s no need to make contributions and then refund them.

How do I create a contribution schedule for a 4-4-5 payroll?

You’ll need to have at least one group specifically for workers you’re paying on a 4-4-5 payroll. See Setting up NEST to align with a 4-4-5 payroll.

How can I make additional contributions for a worker?

If this is going to happen regularly you could set a higher contribution limit for the worker’s group. See Why would I set an upper limit on contributions? Or if you plan to do this less frequently then you can use an exception schedule. See Making a one-off additional contribution.

Workers can also make one-off payments or set up regular payments themselves through their online account. See Manage your contributions within NEST for savers.

Why do I get an error message saying Ive submitted more contributions than I should have?

Have any of your workers opted out since you approved your contribution schedule for payment? This might be why the total for the schedule is lower than when you submitted it. Don’t worry - any additional contributions you’ve made will be refunded.

How do I upload a contribution schedule file using file transfer option?

You can upload a contribution schedule file using file transfer, you’ll have to set up SFTP and click on ‘Manage secure file transfer’ from your NEST home page.

How do I create a contribution schedule using the last earnings period?

You can copy details from the previous earnings period. To do this click on ‘Manage contributions’ from your NEST home page, then click on the arrow under ‘Edit/Pay’ on the current schedule and select ‘Copy schedule’. You will see a pop up, select ‘Copy schedule’ again. The screen will refresh and display a list of workers from the previous schedule.

How do I register with The Pensions Regulator?

To register you’ll need to go to The Pensions Regulator’s website and answer some questions.

You’ll be asked for information about your organisation and about the scheme you’re using to meet your duties.

You’ll need your unique employer NEST ID to hand. This is the ID we gave you when you set up your scheme and it’s on all the communications we send you. It starts with ‘EMP’, followed by a nine digit number.

You’ll be asked whether you’re using a personal pension scheme or an occupational pension scheme - NEST is an occupational pension scheme.

You must register with The Pensions Regulator within five months of your employer staging date. You should have enrolled all eligible jobholders by this point.

How do I remove a delegate?

Log in to your account and select ‘Manage your delegates’. On the Manage delegates page find the delegate you want to remove and click the minus sign next to their name.

A pop-up menu will ask ‘Are you sure you want to stop this delegate from accessing this account?’ To remove the delegate, select ‘Yes, stop access’.

You’ll need to be a ‘full access’ delegate to remove another delegate.

How do I move workers to a new payment source?

Select ‘Manage your payment sources’ on the Welcome to your NEST home page. On ‘Your payment sources’ page click ‘Add another payment source’ and fill in the details.

You’ll need to tell us you’re moving workers to a new payment source in a contribution schedule. You’ll also need to tell us the date this change becomes effective. Make sure this date is the start of a new pay period or you’ll have to make two different sets of contributions in one contribution schedule.

How do I edit a payment due date?

You can’t change a payment due date. If you want to have different dates for different groups of workers you’ll need to create a new group with a new payment due date.

You’ll then need to move your workers into this new group using a contribution schedule. See Changing a member’s group.

How can I change the dates in my group to match my payroll system?

You’ll need to speak to your payroll provider and ask them if they can change the dates for you. Or you could create a new group with different dates and move your workers to the new group using a contribution schedule. See Changing a member’s group.

Im trying to make a payment but NEST says my Direct Debit hasnt been set up.

It can take up to two weeks for your bank to process a new Direct Debit instruction. We might still be waiting for confirmation from them that the Direct Debit has been set up.

How can I track opted out workers?

You can see which of your workers have opted out by clicking on ‘View inactive workers’ on ‘Your active workers’ screen in the Manage workers area of your online account.

You’ll also receive daily notifications from us in your secure mailbox telling you which workers have opted out that day. If no workers opted out then you won’t receive this update.

See Keeping track of opt-outs.

How long does it take to receive a refund if a member has opted out?

It takes 10 working days for NEST to issue a refund for members who have opted out.

How do I change our primary contact?

Log in to your account and select ‘Organisation details’. Then click on ‘Edit your primary contact details’. You can create a new primary contact by clicking ‘New contact’.

You’ll need to be a ‘Full access’ delegate to change the primary contact.

What do I do if Ive locked my account?

Just click on the ‘Unlock my account’ link on the login page. You’ll need the unlock account code that we sent to your registered e-mail address when the account was locked.

What do I do if Ive forgotten my username or password?

Don’t worry - you can click on the ‘Forgot username’ or ‘Forgot password’ links on the login page and re-set your details.

What do I do if Ive forgotten my PIN?

You’ll need to log into your account, click on ‘Manage your security details’ from your NEST home page and then click on ‘Reset your PIN’.