The DWP has published a consultation paper on two sets of regulations governing the Personal Accounts provisions of the Pensions Act 2008:

The draft Pensions (Automatic Enrolment) Regulations 2009 (the Regulations) set out the practical arrangements for automatic enrolment of jobholders into qualifying pension arrangements, including the procedure for opting out, which includes:

  • a scheme joining window of up to 14 days;
  • a concurrent information provision period of up to 14 days; and
  • a subsequent opt-out period of 30 days.

Employees who choose to opt-out of the personal accounts regime would receive a refund of any pension contributions they had made by the second payday following the day the opt-out notice was given, or within 21 days, whichever is later.

The Regulations also enable (but do not oblige) an employer to postpone automatic enrolment for a maximum period of 90 calendar days if the jobholder is then automatically enrolled into a qualifying scheme with total contributions of 11 per cent of band earnings, with employer contributions of at least 6 per cent. The draft Pensions Regulator (Delegation of Powers) Regulations 2009 will allow TPR to delegate specified compliance powers in relation to the personal accounts regime to external bodies. The powers included are the power to issue compliance notices, fixed penalty notices and escalating penalty notices, the power to impose civil penalties under section 10 of the Pensions Act 1995 and the power to gather information under section 72 of the Pensions Act 2004.

This consultation is the first in a series of three consultations seeking views on the proposed regulations to be made under the Pensions Act 2008, with two further consultations planned for Spring and Autumn 2009.

The current consultation period ends on 3 June 2009.

View the consultation paper and draft regulations.