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As an employer in the construction sector under the latest pension reforms, your duties will be as follows:

Registry: Regardless of the size of your company, you must register with the Pensions Regulator within four months of your staging date. Once registered, the government will be able to ascertain whether you’re able to comply with the auto-enrolment pension reforms easily, or whether you may require their assistance. Our own accounting software has optional capabilities for managing auto-enrolment as standard, which will make the processing of such a change much simpler when your firm reaches its staging date. You can choose to postpone automatic enrolment for up to three months from your staging date. However, this does not postpone your staging date so you still have to register within four months of this date.

Automatic enrolment: Unless you have postponed automatic enrolment, any employees who qualify for auto enrolment (eligible jobholders) should be enrolled into a qualifying pension scheme and have contributions made into this pension on the first payroll run after your staging date. Any non-compliant firms will be chased up by the Pensions Regulator, who has the power to enforce compliance. Your accounting software should also give the chance to manage auto-enrolment of employees on an individual basis, particularly as opt-outs, contributions and different earning brackets will give a number of different variables to consider.

Contributions: Those employees eligible for auto-enrolment under the new pension reforms will also require monthly contributions from their employer. The requirements for contributions can be found here, and those companies found to be non-compliant will be likewise punished by the Pensions Regulator.

Managing opt-ins: Those employees who have qualifying earnings below the trigger for auto-enrolment (non-eligible jobholders) may choose to opt in to your qualifying pension scheme and you will also be required to make a contribution. Those employees who don’t have qualifying earnings (entitled workers) may choose to join a pension scheme which you will not be required to pay into. You will be expected to manage the process of opting in/joining the relevant scheme on behalf of your employees.

Managing opt-outs: Some employees may choose to opt out of the enrolment process, in which case it is your responsibility to oversee their withdrawal from the scheme. When you receive a valid opt-out notice, you must refund the jobholder any contributions deducted from their pay within a specific timescale, while any money paid over to the pension scheme must be refunded also.

Communicating with employees: As well as managing the enrolment process, it is your responsibility as an employer to keep employees in the loop regarding how the pension reforms will affect them. Employees need to be informed any time their auto-enrolment assessment is postponed as well as if they they qualify for auto-enrolment or not. They will also need to be informed when they are automatically enrolled and be made aware of their rights under terms of the pension reforms. Failure to communicate these details with your employees will be seen as a failure to comply with government legislature by the Pensions Regulator.