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Workplace Pensions – are you really in?

We’re sure you have seen the ads with the rapping workers; it’s something that everyone has been talking about recently – the workplace pension.
In the next few years all UK workers, earning more than £10,000 per year and over the age of 22 will be entitled to a workplace pension. As an employer it’s your responsibility to ensure this is in place, so it’s time to sit up, pay attention and most importantly get ahead of the curve.

What’s so important about workplace pensions?

The government is encouraging everyone to save money for their retirement and by law employers will be required to act. Even if you only employ one person you’re still responsible for making sure that they have a pension scheme set up. All employers will have been allocated a ‘staging date’ at which they have to comply with the rules. There is no wriggle room; failure to comply may result in severe fines.

What are your responsibilities?

Once you have your staging date set make sure you’re proactive and have everything in place before the deadline as there are a number of things that you’ll need to take care of including:

  • Provide an approved Workplace Pension Scheme for eligible employees and offer it to all other employees

  • Assess your workforce and notify all employees of their rights

  • Enrol all eligible employees into your Workplace Pension Scheme

  • Keep a record of all documentation given

  • Register your scheme with The Pension Regulator

  • Ongoing you must assess your workforce at every pay period, take appropriate action if needed and keep full records

If you already have a Workplace Pension Scheme set up for your employees you’ll also need to make any changes required to make sure it complies with the new laws.

You need to remember that even though you may choose a government scheme and the new law change has been made by the government; you are solely responsible for making sure that all of your employees are set up within your chosen Workplace Pension Scheme.

Above all we can’t stress how important it is to make sure all of your responsibilities are taken care of in advance of your staging date.

Which employees need to have a Workplace Pension?

All of your employees will fall into one of the below categories:


Entitled workers: You must offer your employees the option to access the pension scheme, however you don’t have to contribute to it.

Non-eligible jobholders: You need to offer access to the Workplace Pension Scheme and you must also contribute to their fund.

Eligible jobholders: You must auto-enrol them into your chosen Workplace Pension Scheme by your stated staging date and you must contribute to it.


What type of pension should you actually choose?

There are actually two main types of pensions available. Firstly there’s the Defined Benefit Pension scheme. The amount placed into the pension scheme will be based upon the number of years that your employees have worked for you, along with the salary earned. You might have heard these referred to as ‘final salary schemes’.
Other pension schemes adopt what is known as Defined Contribution schemes, these types of schemes are regularly referred to as ‘money purchase schemes’.
The difference with Defined Contribution schemes it that both you as the employer and your employees will pay a set amount into the pension pot every month, which will then amount to a retirement fund for your employees. It’s worth noting that most auto enrolment schemes adopt a Defined Contribution process.

So what type of pension scheme should you set-up?

Once you’ve got your head around how  Defined Benefit and Defined Contribution pensions work, you’ll find it easier to choose your pension scheme which is handy as there are a few available:

A Government Scheme

All employers who want their business to become a part of The National Employment Savings Trust will be accepted. This pension scheme set up by the government is free for all employers to join and has been created specifically for auto enrolment. You can find out more information here

Schemes with Master Trust Assurance

Master Trust Assurance schemes have been benchmarked against a certain quality. However all of these schemes adhere to Defined Contribution. The Pensions Regulator often monitors these schemes to make sure they maintain the industry wide standard. The People’s Pension and NOW Pensions currently have Master Trust Assurance and are open to small businesses.

Master Trusts and Group Personal Pensions

These schemes are also for those who are looking to set up Defined Contribution pension schemes as they have been designed to be adaptable for a variety of businesses. Pension schemes in this field have been designed to cost less and require less involvement from the employers compared to other schemes.

Schemes listed by bodies

The National Association of Pension Funds holds all information of other pension schemes so that they are able to monitor them closely. All group pensions are also often regulated by the Financial Services Authority (FSA) Most of these providers you’ll recognise from the High Street and television ads for brands such as Aviva, Prudential, Scottish Widows and more.

How much is all this going to cost me?

With so many different schemes available, you’re probably wondering how much you’ll need to contribute to your employees’ pensions. The table below outlines the minimum contribution both you and your employees will need to put into your chosen pension scheme:


FSB Workplace Pensions

We get it. There’s a lot to take onboard when it comes to pensions and you’re no doubt sat scratching your head trying to work out what to do first.

Our advice? Simple, seek professional advice don’t try to tackle this on your own. Pensions can be mind-boggling but it’s a legal requirement that you can’t afford to get wrong.

Through the FSB Workplace Pensions, you’ll have access to expert help and advice that will assist you in setting up the perfect pension scheme for both your business and employees. For more information please visit our pension page here.

Whatever you decide to do, you need to ensure you have a plan in place and make sure you’ve completed all of the necessities before your staging date, as the last thing you want to do it be hit by a hefty fine.

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