The DWP has launched a consultation on draft regulations that propose practical and technical measures to simplify and improve the automatic enrolment process, which began in October 2012.

The proposed changes relate to:

  • Defining pay reference periods for assessing automatic enrolment duties;
  • Defining pay reference periods for assessing scheme quality;
  • Introducing consistency for contribution payment deadlines for all joiners;
  • Jobholders who opted out of pension saving before automatic enrolment;
  • Clarifying the form and content of the opt out notice;
  • The joining window; and
  • The test scheme standard for defined benefit schemes.

The consultation also seeks views on other possible easements for employers providing good pension schemes and a power to make potential future changes to remove the automatic enrolment duty where pension saving is not appropriate, or where further pension saving could result in financial detriment (this may allow exemptions for employees who have elected for fixed protection).

The consultation period began on 25 March 2013 and runs until 7 May 2013. The draft regulations are expected to come into force by April 2014.