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New pension rules

The Pensions Act 2008 introduced new rules for workplace pensions in the UK. These changes affect every workplace and make sure that every worker will have a chance to save for their retirement.

Under the new rules, every employer will have to give their workers the opportunity to join a workplace pension scheme that meets certain standards. Depending on how old they are and how much they earn, many workers will be automatically enrolled into the scheme. Other workers will be entitled to join the scheme if they want to.

Workers earning over a certain amount will also be entitled to a minimum contribution into their retirement pot. It’s usually made up of money taken from the workers’ pay, money paid in by their employer and money from the government, although employers can pay the entire minimum contribution themselves if they want to.

A graphic showing what's changed since auto enrolment

When will the new pension rules take effect?

The new employer duties are being introduced gradually. They’ve already begun to apply to the largest UK employers and over the next few years they’ll apply to most other organisations. The minimum contribution has been introduced at 2 per cent of a worker's pay. This will rise gradually to 8 per cent.

The timeline below shows when different employers will be affected and how the minimum contribution will rise in the coming years. The dates for the increases to 5 per cent and 8 per cent are April 2018 and April 2019.

A graphic showing how minimum contributions will be phased

Auto enrolment and contributions

Depending on how much they earn and how old they are, many workers will be enrolled into a pension scheme without asking and will be entitled to a minimum level of contributions. This is called auto enrolment. Other workers can ask to be enrolled and may also be entitled to a minimum contribution.

When do your duties start?

If you’re an employer, the date the duties apply to you is known as your ‘staging date’ or your ‘duty start date’. You can find out when you’re affected by visiting The Pensions Regulator’s website.

Find out when your duties start