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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 these rules, every employer has 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 have to be automatically enrolled into the scheme. Other workers are entitled to join the scheme if they want to.

Workers earning over a certain amount are also 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?

Employer duties have been introduced gradually. They applied to the largest UK employers first and subsequently to most other organisations. Minimum contributions started at 2 per cent of workers pay, rose to 5 per cent in April 2018 and will rise again to 8 per cent in April 2019.

The timeline below shows when different employers were affected and how minimum contributions rise over time.

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