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Is Your Charity Ready to Comply with Auto Enrolment Pensions?

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Charities employing fewer than 30 staff must be ready to comply with auto-enrolment pension regulations, or risk fines of at least £400.

Designed to encourage 10 million employees to save towards their retirement, the government regulations are being rolled out in stages based on the size of an organisation’s workforce. Smaller charities are in the latest tranche who need to enrol employees onto the scheme.

The Pension Regulator is clamping down on organisations who fail to comply, so any delay is risky. Like businesses, charities can be fined £400 for non-compliance, with the possibility of further escalating fines.

Some of the key facts and issues:

  1. Charities in the next stage of auto enrolment will have received a letter from the Pensions Regulator, which is sent 12 months ahead of the due start date. They should have started the registration process already, otherwise fines may be due.
  2. They should already be planning ahead for their ‘staging date’ and ensuring that they have all the necessary paperwork to complete their declaration of compliance.
  3. Compulsory employer contributions are the main costs associated with the pension scheme, with charities required to pay a minimum employer contribution for everyone they automatically enrol and anyone who opts in. The minimum amount is being phased in, starting at 1% and rising to 3% of staff’s qualifying earnings.
  4. Pension solutions are not necessarily free and some of the large insurance companies will charge employers a service fee to have their pension scheme.
  5. Charities should check with pension providers whether existing pensions for any employees will qualify for auto-enrolment, as some may not.
  6. Small charities who are introducing a workplace pension for the first time should speak to an appropriate adviser who can help to identify a scheme best suited to their workforce.

The Pensions Regulator lists the ‘staging dates’ for the legislation and provides a useful step by step online guide to preparing for compliance.

Michele ToddIf you have any concerns over your charity's obligation with regards to auto enrolment of pensions, or would like to discuss any other legal issue relating to your charity, please contact Michele Todd on 0114 2906207 or email

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