The Department for Work and Pensions has announced new changes to auto-enrolment legislation, which are aimed at making it easier for future tranches of employers to enrol their employees into a pension scheme.
The government received 112 responses to its consultation launched in September 2012 and has now finalised amendments to the regulations.
The changes include:
- The auto-enrolment joining window is extended from one month to six weeks.
- The deadline for employers to provide information to individuals on their opt-in and joining rights is extended to six weeks.
- The deadlines for registration and postponement notices fit with the extended joining window.
- The extended deadline for passing worker contributions to a pension scheme applies to all new joiners, including contract joiners.
- The opt-out notice provisions make clear that schemes can customise notices.
- There is greater clarity and consistency concerning the requirements for defined benefit test schemes in relation to the appropriate age, service limits and revaluation that apply in those schemes.
- Alternative definitions of pay reference periods for both assessing jobholder status and determining whether a scheme is a qualifying one.
The majority of these changes will be implemented from 1st November 2013 with those on the joining window and registration deadlines coming into force from 1st April 2014.
Steve Webb, pensions minister, said: “Employers and our partners in the pensions and payroll industries have made a major contribution in delivering these landmark reforms since October 2012.
“Now, one year in, we want to build on this success as medium-sized employers prepare to automatically enrol their staff into a workplace pension.
“These changes are aimed at streamlining the system and making it easier for employers to meet their duties.”