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Enrolling your workers

Once you know which workers you need to enrol into NEST, it’s time to start enrolling them. Some workers will be automatically enrolled and others will have the right to ask to be enrolled.

How you enrol workers

An illustration of the enrolment process. Submitting enrolment information, NEST processing it, NEST telling you about any errors and returning it to you correct.

To enrol your workers you’ll need to provide us with a range of information. You can do this in three ways.

You can enrol workers by logging in to your employer account and manually inputting the information directly on screen. This is quick and efficient if you only have a few workers to enrol.

You can enrol workers all at once by sending us a file through your online account. You’ll need to send it in the right format and make sure that all the necessary information has been included.

Read more about the different types of files and formats

Secure File Transfer Protocol (SFTP) lets you send large files quickly. This is a useful feature for the largest employers who might be enrolling tens of thousands of workers at once. As with sending files through your online account, you’ll need to send it in the right format and make sure that all the necessary information has been included.


Any workers who are entitled to a minimum contribution have the chance to opt out. A worker’s opt-out period starts three working days after you enrol them and ends one calendar month from this date. The three day delay to the opt-out period is to allow time for their welcome pack to arrive by post. We let them know these dates in their welcome pack, as well as the ways in which they can opt out.

Workers with the right to opt out can do so in a number of ways. They can do this directly through NEST or give you a paper form.

By signing up to our Employer Terms and Conditions, you’ve given us permission to manage opt-outs on your behalf. Doing this makes it easier for you and reduces your administration. It’s also easy for members as they can opt out through our website or automated telephone system.

We’ll keep records of these opt-outs for four years on your behalf, in line with the law.

You’ll need to keep looking out for communications from us about members who’ve opted out directly with NEST. These will be sent to your secure mailbox. If you’ve set up secure file transfer you can ask to get this information in a file as well.

When we tell you that a worker has opted out through NEST you’ll need to make sure you exclude them from future contribution schedules. If you try to make a contribution for a member who has opted out you’ll get an error message.

Your workers can also choose to opt out by giving you a paper opt-out form. You have to let them do this by law. They need to use a valid opt-out notice, which we provide. If they do this, you’ll be responsible for managing the opt-out process.

Workers get a paper opt-out form by contacting us directly. We send them a filled-out form to sign and submit to you. You’ll need to make sure it reaches the right person or department in your organisation. To help manage this process, it’s a good idea to tell your workers who to submit their opt-out forms to as part of your auto enrolment communications.

You tell us a worker has opted out on paper by providing this information on the next contribution schedule.

Get your data in the right format

If you send us a file it’s important that it’s formatted in the right way for our system to read it. You can use our Excel file templates to make sure you’ve got it right, and our Employer payroll guide tells you everything you need to know.

Download the right template for your file

Employer help centre

You can read more about enrolling workers in our employer help centre. You’ll also find detailed information about setting up and managing your NEST account.

Go to the help centre