Pensions: Automatic enrolment system timetable revealed


The Pensions Minister Steve Webb told BBC News that he expects 'about two thirds' of people who are enrolled to stay in the new system

Some 600,000 people are expected to be enrolled into a workplace pension by the end of the year under a new system that automatically diverts funds from their pay packet.

The automatic enrolment scheme begins on 1 October and will mark one of the biggest changes to the pension system in the UK.

It will start with the largest firms.

Employers and staff will pay contributions into pension savings unless the worker opts out.

Workers aged over 22, earning more than £8,105 and not already signed up to a workplace pension scheme will be automatically enrolled into a pension scheme.

However, this system will be phased in gradually, with workers in the smallest firms not seeing a change for a few years.


The Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) has outlined more details on the number of people expected to be signed up during the initial waves.

Auto-enrolment criteria

  • Most workers will be enrolled if they are aged between 22 and the state pension age
  • However, these workers must be earning at least £8,105 a year
  • Pensionable earnings will be those between £5,564 and £42,475
  • Staff can opt out

It estimates that 380,000 workers will be signed up in October, a total of 420,000 will be enrolled by the end of November and 600,000 will be in place by the end of the year.

The enrolment peak is expected to be next spring. Overall, 11 million people will be eligible. Pensions Minister Steve Webb estimates that between six million and nine million people will stick with the pension saving, rather than opt out.

The aim is for more people to save for their retirement, rather than relying solely on the state pension.

Under automatic enrolment, employers will eventually contribute 3% of earnings to a worker's pension pot, employees will have 4% of their earnings diverted and there will be 1% tax relief.

However, these contributions will also be phased in gradually, starting at about 1% of earnings paid in by the employer and employee.


The system has been welcomed by various business and workers' groups.

"As the UK's ageing population continues to increase, we need more people to start recognising the value of saving for retirement," said Neil Carberry, the CBI's director for employment.

"Auto-enrolment will help rebuild a positive savings culture in the workplace and encourage people to take control of their retirement plans."

TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said: "This is a truly historic advance. For the first time, every employer will be compelled to contribute to the pensions of their staff - a union objective for many years.

"This government deserves praise for taking forward the plans put forward by the Pensions Commission under the previous administration."


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  • rate this

    Comment number 361.

    It is going to be very difficult to get the low paid to save for a pension while pension credits are still in force, simply because there is not much point. The goverment has been talking about a flat rate pension of around £140.00 per week for sometime now, they need to sort it quickly otherwise this idea like many before it will have little success.

  • rate this

    Comment number 297.

    And who picks the pension scheme? Sorry but I will opt out. I want the right to have monies I earn paid into a pension scheme I choose. The government don't understand that a lot of people don't have faith in the "prescribed" pension scheme. Let us have the choice of the monies going to a SIPP and I'm all for it. But my employer will just shove it in their pension scheme.

  • rate this

    Comment number 256.

    My only problem is 3% is 75% of my pay rises over the last five years. so its quite a lot for me at this time. Will i get a 3% pay rise next year. No. So i'll be even worse of. Yes i can opt out but i know i need to save for the future so it will be the economy which will lose this.

  • rate this

    Comment number 132.

    Those who say their pension is worth nothing, u have either not put a lot in or your expectation are too high or what amazes me is so many people do not seek good quality advice from an adviser throughout your pension planning, something that u save all your life for and get no advice,yet u will get advice on buying a car or a fridge?Don't moan about something u are responsible for.Its your fault.

  • rate this

    Comment number 97.

    I suspect most employees currently not in any pension scheme will just opt out of this new scheme. Most people not already in a pension scheme earn less than £20k gross and cannot afford to contribute to a pension for themselves whilst having to pay for those enjoyed by the public sector employees.


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