The Department for Work and Pensions ("DWP") has published a consultation response on the exemption of certain categories of workers from the scope of auto-enrolment.

The DWP states in its response that it wishes to provide employers with flexibility, so that in a limited number of situations, which affect only a small number of workers, employers will not be obliged to go through the process of auto-enrolment. The areas identified for change by the DWP include workers who:

  • have tax protected status for existing pension savings (for example, enhanced or fixed protection);
  • are about to leave employment;
  • have given notice of imminent retirement; and/or
  • have recently cancelled pensions membership after having been enrolled contractually.

The areas where the DWP considered that exceptions should not be provided included where an individual was in serious ill-health and in respect of certain new starters or short-term/casual hires.

The next step is for the DWP to develop the proposals into workable exceptions (in particular, where an employer may not know about an individual's circumstances) and then prepare a final consultation and regulations. No timescale has been indicated.

The response can be viewed by clicking here.