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Auto-enrolment – get started and don’t panic!

Auto-enrolment - setting up workplace pensions as a small business

If you’re a small business with few employees, it’s likely your staging date for auto-enrolment is looming.

We’ve all heard about the fines for non-compliance. But as daunting as the auto-enrolment process may be, especially for small businesses with few resources, the worst thing you can do is stick your head in the sand.

So – get planning, get ready and save yourself a whole lot of stress.

Our top tips for auto-enrolment

If you have the funds, many organisations are now offering packages to completely handle the auto-enrolment process. However, we’re well aware that this simply isn’t an option for many small businesses, so here are some key points to consider when setting up auto-enrolment yourself;

Firstly, make sure you know your staging date – you can find out by entering your PAYE reference here. You can find your PAYE reference on any correspondence from HMRC regarding PAYE.

You should choose your pension scheme about 6 months before your staging date – this will give you time to get everything set up in advance of the deadline. The Pensions Regulator can provide you with a timeline of what you need to do and when.

When choosing a pension provider, be careful where you get your advice – remember that pension providers invest funds, so speak to an Independent Financial Advisor regarding your options.

Once you’ve enrolled your employees, make sure you declare this to the Pensions Regulator. They should send you a declaration to sign and return prior to your staging date, so if you haven’t received this get in touch with them to let them know. Even if you’ve successfully enrolled your employees, if you don’t submit a declaration you may still receive a fine.

If you don’t understand part of the process, ask for help! There’s no shame in admitting you’re a little confused, especially when you’ve never had to deal with pension schemes before. Call the Pensions Regulator on 0345 600 1011 for advice.  Alternatively, get in touch with your pension provider to see if they can assist.

Lastly – don’t panic. Make use of the resources and advice available to you. Once you’ve got the ball rolling the process won’t be as painful as you first thought, we promise.