Pensions Act 2007 and Pensions Act 2008

Launch of personal accounts delayed to October 2012. Larger employers will be required to comply first, with requirements for smaller employers phased in 2012-16. Full contributions will not need to be paid until 2017. Trial launch with volunteer employers expected 2011  

Final rules of NEST scheme in force on 5 July 2010 (2010/917)

Draft legislation for Finance Bill 2011 issued 9 December 2010. Finance Bill issued 31 March 2011

Pensions Bill 2011 issued January 2011 (see entry below)  

Informal consultation issued 28 April 2011. Consultation period ended 31 May 2011. Formal consultation on draft regulations is expected after the close of the informal consultation

The Application of Pension Legislation to the National Employment Savings Trust Corporation Regulations 2011/673 in force on 6 April 2011

The draft Occupational and Personal Pension Schemes (Automatic Enrolment) (Amendment) Regulations 2011

The Employer's Duties (Implementation) (Amendment) Regulations 20[11?]

The DWP has published the findings of an independent review into autoenrolment, followed by informal consultations. Proposals include that:  

  • jobholders should only be auto-enrolled once they reach the income tax threshold (£7,475 in 2011), with contributions on earnings in excess of the NI earnings threshold (currently £110 per week);
  • jobholders earning between the NI earnings threshold and the income tax threshold would be able to opt in and receive an employer contribution;
  • very small employers should not be excluded from the auto-enrolment requirements. However, the Pensions Regulator should make clear in the strongest terms possible that the NEST scheme specifically takes account of the needs of small employers;
  • employers should be given comfort that they will not be held liable for their choice of scheme, particularly if they opt for NEST or a stakeholder scheme;
  • employers should be allowed a waiting period of up to three months before being required to auto-enrol job holders (although workers could opt in during this period and receive an employer contribution). Employers who take advantage of the three month waiting period will have to give jobholders prescribed information within one week of the start of the period;
  • the process for certifying that a scheme meets the qualifying scheme standards should be simplified. A scheme which meets one of the following criteria should be taken to meet the requirements:
    • minimum contribution of 9% of pensionable pay (including 4% from the employer);
    • minimum contribution of 8% of pensionable pay (including 3% employer contribution) provided that pensionable pay is at least 85% of the total pay bill; or
    •  minimum contribution of 7% of pensionable pay (including 3% employer contribution) provided that the total pay bill is pensionable;
  • allowing employers whose staging date is in October or November 2012 to start auto-enrolment from July 2012;
  • allowing six months' flexibility around an employer's scheduled reenrolment date;
  • the contribution cap of £3,600 to NEST should be removed in 2017;
  • the issue of transfers should be addressed, with transfers to and from NEST being possible by 2017;
  • the scope for regulatory arbitrage between contract and trust-based schemes should be reviewed as a matter of urgency; and
  • when assessing whether a jobholder earns more than the earnings trigger his or her monthly earnings should be added up for a 12 month period.  

Tax legislation will be amended so that, where an employer pays interest on late contributions to a qualifying scheme, the jobholder will not be liable for income tax on the interest.