How to re-enrol your employees in your workplace pension scheme

Blogs 15 Feb 2022

Staying on top of your responsibilities as an employer is crucial. Find out how you can comply with your re-enrolment duties during your triennial review with this quick step-by-step guide.

Small business owner with workplace pensions paperwork

This content was reviewed on 6 February 2024. 

As an employer, you have a legal requirement to re-enrol certain eligible staff who have left your automatic enrolment pension scheme. You need to do this every three years as part of your ongoing duties and inform The Pensions Regulator. This is sometimes referred to as re-enrolment, cyclical re-enrolment, or a triennial review.

Re-enrolment and re-declaration of compliance are legal requirements enforced by The Pensions Regulator. If you don't act, you could be fined. Workplace pensions specialists at the Federation of Small Businesses share the four steps you need to follow to make sure you’re staying on the right side of the law.

1. Choose your re-enrolment date 

You must choose a re-enrolment date that falls in the three months either side of the third anniversary of your staging date or duties start date. This is known as the re-enrolment window. The date can be any day of the month that you wish.

For example, if your duties started on 1 October 2020, you could choose to re-enrol on any day between 1 July and 31 December 2023. This gives you a flexible six-month window in which you can choose a re-enrolment date. However, you must have the same re-enrolment date for all staff you have to re-enrol.

When is my re-enrolment date?

The Pensions Regulator’s website has a tool you can use to choose and plan your re-enrolment dates. You’ll need your PAYE reference and your letter code.

Can I use postponement?

No, postponement period can’t be used to delay your re-enrolment duties. You can only use postponement before auto enrolment. You can choose a re-enrolment date that works for you, providing it’s within your six-month window.

I have used postponement. Will this affect my re-enrolment date?

No, it won’t change your duties' start date or declaration of the compliance deadline.

What if I am past the third anniversary of my duties start date or staging date?

“We recommend that you use the third anniversary of your automatic enrolment duties start date or staging date as your re-enrolment date. However, you can choose an alternative date if, for example, you have already passed the third anniversary of your duties start date or staging date,” explains Sam Baker at FSB Payroll and Pensions. 

You can do this up to three months after the third anniversary of their duties start date or staging date.

2. Assess your employees 

You only need to assess staff who have left the pension scheme or have reduced their contributions. Any staff who are:

  • aged between 22 and state pension age
  • and earn over £10,000 a year, or £833 a month, or £192 a week

must be put into the pension scheme. Both employees and employers must pay into it.

There are a few exceptions to workers who would normally be enrolled as they are eligible jobholders, such as employees who have:

  • cancelled active membership (opted out) within 12 months prior to the chosen re-enrolment date
  • given in their notice to end their employment with you
  • been given notice of dismissal by you
  • protection from the lifetime allowance

Once you have worked out which staff must be re-enrolled, you must now put them back into a pension scheme within six weeks of your re-enrolment date. You will need to set up a pension for those eligible and contribute to it.

In addition to the basics of re-enrolment, you should also be reviewing if you have fallen behind in any areas or made any mistakes since the original staging date, as well as the ongoing suitability of the existing scheme.

What if none of my employees need to be put back into the pension scheme?

If you have worked out you don’t have any staff to put back into the pension scheme, you still need to complete the re-declaration of compliance in step four.

3. Inform your employees 

It is your legal duty to write to each member of staff you have put back into your pension scheme. This must be completed within six weeks after your re-enrolment date. You don’t have to write to staff that are not being put back into your pension scheme. FSB members can access a free template letter for this on the FSB Legal Hub.  

If you chose an alternative re-enrolment date, you should put staff back into the pension scheme within six weeks of this date. You don’t need to tell The Pensions Regulator your chosen date until you complete the re-declaration of compliance.

What if my employee wants to leave the pension scheme? 

Your letter should let your employee know that they have one month to opt-out of the scheme. If your employee doesn’t want to contribute to a pension scheme, they’ll need to opt-out each time they’re re-enrolled. You’ll need to stop taking money out of their pay and arrange a full refund of what has been paid to date. This must happen within one month of their request.

Remember, you’re not allowed to stop an employee from enrolling in the pension scheme, nor can you force an employee to opt-out.

4. Complete your re-declaration of compliance  

The final step is to complete your re-declaration of compliance within five months of the third anniversary of your staging date or duties start date. Failure to do this may result in fines or prosecution, as you won’t be compliant with auto-enrolment legislation. Don’t leave this until the last day to complete as some information may take time to prepare.

Whether you have staff to put back into your scheme or not, you must complete a re-declaration of compliance to tell The Pensions Regulator how you have met your duties. You can start your re-declaration at any time after you have re-enrolled staff, or as soon as you work out you have no staff to put into the pension scheme.

The re-declaration deadline doesn’t change if you choose a different day to the third anniversary of the duties start date or staging date, on which you assess your staff. This means you must complete your re-declaration of compliance within five months of the third anniversary of your duties' start date or staging date, regardless of which day you choose.

The re-declaration deadline will be confirmed to you on communications you receive from The Pensions Regulator.

Concerned about compliance? 

Have peace of mind with FSB Payroll and Pensions triennial review service, available exclusively for FSB members.

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