Skip To The Main Content

Does my start up need to provide workplace pensions?

  • Blog
  • 05 September 2017

Workplace pensions are a particularly helpful saving solution for many people, but what are your obligations as a new business when it comes to providing them? As a new start-up, it may feel like a fairly big issue to tackle. We explain your obligations when it comes to workplace pensions in your start-up business.

What kind of business are you?

There are many different ways for a start-up business to operate in the early stages, and the way you operate yours may affect whether or not you need to provide workplace pensions.

Does my start up need to provide workplace pensions?

 If you employ one or more people, you are legally required to auto enrol them into a compliant workplace pension scheme.

If you choose to start small and form your business alone with no other employees – a home baking business, for example – then you  aren’t legally required  to sign up to a workplace pension, however you should think about …... As the only person involved in running the business, you aren’t legally defined as an employer, nor are you your own employee.

However, even if you start small, you’ll likely be hoping for growth and expansion down the line. You should try and keep in mind that, as soon as you’re in a position where you need to hire staff members, you will have to auto enrol them into a compliant workplace pension scheme.  

Auto-enrolment obligations

You are now legally required to auto-enrol your employees on a compliant workplace pension scheme. The Pensions Regulator has published a list of staging dates when different businesses need to comply by.  Government introduced this to bolster the retirement savings of the UK workforce.

Having found that many people had a minimal amount of savings ready for their futures, s enrolling employees into a workplace pension scheme was made into a legal obligation for employers. A percentage of government tax relief is also applied to contributions in order to incentivise the use of workplace pension services, as well as further increase the amount people had saved. 

If you do not put in place a compliant  workplace pension scheme for your employees by when you need to, you  risk being  sanctioned by The Pensions Regulator (TPR).  In the first three months of 2017, TPR issued 4,673 fixed penalty notices and more than 1,000 escalating penalty notices. A total of 14,502 fixed penalty notices of £400 have now been issued, as well as 2,517 escalating penalty notices of up to £10,000 per day to employers that failed to comply by their staging date.

If you’re unsure about your obligations, or how to go about meeting them, do seek advice from a reputable pensions provider or business support group such as FSB.

Giving your staff the choice

You need to automatically enrol your staff, but they have the right to opt out of the scheme if they would prefer not to save through a workplace pension.

That said, you have to re-enrol staff every three years. Even if they initially opted out, they will be able to join the scheme again at a later date if they choose. Similarly, staff who are in the scheme are still able to withdraw in future if they change their mind

How FSB can help you

FSB Business Essentials provides businesses with advice and guidance through the entire process of auto-enrolment  For any aspect of starting your new business that you feel you may need support with, such as your workplace pension obligations, FSB can help.

To find out more, take a look at our FSB Business Essentials page, or get in touch with a member of our team on 0808 2020 888.

FSB Workplace Pensions from FSB

With expert advice and guidance from a leading provider, it's one of the most popular FSB Member Benefits.

Find out more