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Employer FAQs

Do the new pension duties apply to me?
If you employ one or more workers in the UK then the new duties apply to you. You’ll have to set up a workplace pension and automatically enrol any workers who meet the age and earnings requirements. You’ll have to enrol any workers who ask and may have to make a contribution to the retirement pot of some or all of your workers.

Find out more about the new pension rules

My organisation already offers a workplace pension scheme. Do I still have to set up a scheme and automatically enrol my workers?
You may have to automatically enrol workers who are not currently saving in your workplace pension, depending on their age and how much they earn.

In addition, your current scheme may not meet the standards required of an automatic enrolment pension scheme.

Find out more about the requirements for an auto enrolment pension scheme on The Pensions Regulator website (opens in a new window).

When I’ve chosen a provider will they do everything else for me?
No. There’s a lot to do around auto enrolment that your provider won’t or can’t do. This includes assessing your workforce, making changes to your payroll and HR processes, setting up contribution schedules and managing opt outs.

Find out more about what you need to do to get ready for auto enrolment

You could also get help from a third party, such as your accountant, payroll provider or a financial adviser.

Find out more about getting help managing NEST

How long will it take to set up a scheme?
This depends on:

  • how many workers there are in your organisation
  • how many different pay periods you have for your workers
  • how much variation you want to make in what different workers get

Find out more about what you need to do to get ready

As a self-employed person do I have to provide a pension scheme for myself?
No, but it’s still a good idea to start saving for your retirement if you’re not doing so already.

Find out about registering with NEST as a self-employed person

I have a staging date, 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 (opens in a new window).

Do I enrol workers 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 (opens in a new window).

How do I complete a declaration of compliance with The Pensions Regulator?
To register you’ll need to go to The Pensions Regulator’s website​ (opens in a new window) 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 complete your declaration with The Pensions Regulator within five months of your employer staging date or duty start date. You should have enrolled all eligible jobholders by this point.

Do I need to register NEST with HMRC?
No, NEST is an occupational pension scheme already registered with HMRC. You only need to register with The Pensions Regulator (TPR) to tell them you’re using NEST and answer some questions about your organisation. This is called a declaration of compliance (opens in new window).

Do I need to do anything else for workers who opt out or stop contributing?
Every three years you’ll need to reassess your workers to see whether any of them need to be re-enrolled into NEST. This is a separate process to the usual worker assessment that you run at each pay reference period. The workers you’ll need to reassess are those who have stopped making contributions or opted out over 12 months before your re-enrolment date. You can find out more in our help centre and on The Pensions Regulator website (opens in a new window).

What do I do if I don’t have a staging date, do duties still apply to me? 

You won’t have a staging date if;

You started to pay PAYE income on or after 1 October 2017

You don’t operate a PAYE scheme and you employed your first worker on or after 1 April 2017

If you meet the above criteria then your legal duties as an employer begin on the day your first worker started Find out more about when your duties will start


Is NEST run by the government?
No. NEST was set up by the government for auto enrolment but is run as a trust. NEST is run by its Trustee, NEST Corporation. This means that a trustee board oversees NEST and makes sure that it’s doing its job.

Find out how NEST is run

What are NEST’s terms and conditions?
NEST’s terms and conditions cover our obligations to you to provide a suitable scheme for your workers. They also cover your obligations to us. These include:

  • fulfilling your obligation to tell your workers about auto enrolment
  • providing us with enrolment and contribution information in the right format
  • telling us about any of your workers who tell you they want to opt out

Read the full employer terms and conditions

How do I create an online account with NEST?
Signing up to NEST is very straightforward and you can do it now. You’ll just need to provide us with some basic information about your organisation. We’ll then send you a link by email for you to follow and switch on your account. After you’ve created an online account you’ll be able to start setting up NEST for your workplace.

Sign up for NEST now

How can my workers opt out of NEST?
There are three ways your workers can opt out of NEST.

  • Go to the NEST website and opt out online
  • Call our contact centre and follow the automated instructions
  • Hand a paper opt out form to you – they’ll need to request the form from NEST by emailing us or calling the contact centre.

If they opt out by phone or online, we’ll let you know and you won’t have to make any more contributions for that worker. If they hand you a completed opt out form, you’ll have to let us know through your contribution schedule.

Find out more about more in our employer help centre

Does NEST work with Sage and other payroll software?
Yes. NEST is compatible with all the major payroll systems, including Sage.

Find out more on our payroll integration page

Can I get help setting up and managing NEST?
Yes. NEST’s delegated access functionality makes it easy to get help from a third-party such as your accountant, payroll provider or financial adviser. You can also give access to people in your own organisation to take care of specific tasks, such as enrolments or contributions.

Find out about delegated access

Is NEST only suitable for lower earners?
NEST has been set up to be suitable for all workers. In fact, NEST Retirement Date Funds provide the kind of tailored investment approach that savers would expect from group pension plans that have previously only been available to higher earners.

If you use qualifying earnings to calculate your contributions, you can use NEST to comply with your duties for all your workers, no matter how much they earn. There’s no limit on how much goes into your workers’ NEST retirement pot. However, contributions that go over the government’s annual allowance may be charged extra tax.

Find out more about the government’s annual allowance

Is NEST only suitable for small companies? Is it only suitable for larger companies?
NEST is suitable for companies of any size.

Find out more about using NEST for your workers

Can NEST be used in conjunction with salary sacrifice?

Find out how to set NEST up for salary sacrifice in our employer help centre

Can NEST accept contributions from employers or workers above the minimum contributions?
Yes, we can accept higher contributions. However, contributions that go over the government’s annual allowance may be taxed.

Find out more about making contributions

Is my workers’ money safe if it’s invested in the stock market?
We work hard to protect your workers’ retirement pots. As with any investment, the value of a worker’s retirement pot can go down as well as up but in the long term we expect to grow their money faster than the rising cost of living.

Find out more about how we look after members’ money

How much will I have to pay to use NEST?
NEST is free for employers to use. The only money you’ll pay us is contributions for your workers.

Find out more about NEST’s charges

How much do you charge workers saving with NEST?
NEST has an annual management charge of 0.3 per cent of the members’ retirement pot, and we take a 1.8 per cent contribution charge from each payment that’s made into their retirement pot. For most members saving over the long term this combined charged is equivalent to a 0.5 per cent annual management charge.

Find out more about NEST’s charges

How much do I need to contribute for my workers?
You’ll need to make a minimum contribution for any workers who earn more than the qualifying earnings threshold. The minimum is currently 2 per cent of their qualifying earnings. This will rise to 5 per cent in April 2018 and 8 per cent in April 2019. You won’t have to make a minimum contribution for any workers who earn less than the qualifying earnings threshold.

It’s worth thinking about paying more than the minimum and making contributions for workers who don’t qualify for the minimum. Making extra contributions for your workers is a good way to attract and keep good people.

Workers can contribute as much as they like to their pots. However, contributions that go over the annual allowance on pension contributions set by the government may be charged extra tax.

Find out more about the government’s annual allowance

How do I pay contributions to NEST?
The best way to pay contributions to NEST is by Direct Debit. This means that NEST will automatically deduct your contributions from your bank account after they’ve been approved by you. This isn’t the same as a Direct Debit that goes out on a set date - NEST will never deduct the money before you let us know you’re ready to pay.

You can also pay by using your debit card. If you choose to pay contributions this way you’ll have to make the transaction every time you make a contribution, which can be time consuming.

Browse our employer help centre

Our online help centre has in-depth guidance on your new duties and using NEST. It covers everything you need to know about setting up and managing your workplace pension scheme with NEST.

What is NEST?

NEST is a workplace pension scheme set up by the government specifically for auto enrolment. Free for employers to use, we welcome any employer that wants to use us to meet their new duties.