By Neilson Watts (Product Manager, Sage One Payroll).
Over the years I’ve worked in many a small business and often heard the “let’s not worry about it until I need to worry about it” approach when it came to legislation (i.e. leave it to the last possible minute and then we’ll deal with it)…
One of the biggest myths and misconceptions about Automatic Enrolment of Workplace Pensions is that ‘Postponement’ gives you some breathing space and is a delaying tactic. NOT TRUE…and you’d be putting your business at risk if you are naïve to believe this!
So what does Postponement actually mean?
Your ‘Staging Date‘ represents when your business should have everything in place to comply with automatic enrolment duties. Postponement simply means that you are delaying one of the duties of compliance which is the assessment of the workforce but you still need to ensure you have a workplace pension in place.
You may choose to use postponement in an effort to align your payroll business processes, or avoid calculating pro-rata pension contributions or avoid a rare period of pay spikes where a bonus has been applied.
How long can you postpone for?
Employers can use postponement for a period up to a maximum of 3 months. The date you postpone until is known as your ‘Deferral Date’. For example, if your staging date is 1st January 2015, the latest deferral date you can use is the 1st April 2015.
Postponement can be applied to a single worker, some workers or all of your workforce and the length of postponement can be different for each staff member. You can use postponement from key dates such as your staging date, a workers employment start date (if employed after the staging date) or the date a worker becomes eligible for automatic enrolment.
It’s important to note that postponement does not change your staging date and during the postponement period your workers still have the right to opt in to or join your pension scheme.
What you need to do if you choose to postpone?
You will need to inform your workforce whose automatic enrolment you are postponing and have just 6 weeks from the date of postponement to let them know. If you fail to do this, postponement cannot be applied.
What do I need to do once I go beyond my deferral date?
The deferral date is the last day of the postponement period. Once you’ve gone past the deferral date you will need to assess workforce and eligible job-holders must be automatically enrolled into your workplace pension scheme straight away.
How can I prepare?
The simple and affordable answer is by using our Sage One Payroll software! From just £5, £10 or £15 + VAT per month (for the 5, 10 or 15 employee version) not only will we help you prepare for Automatic Enrolment, we’ll effortlessly assess your workforce, automatically enrol eligible employees into a workplace pension scheme and seamlessly undertake ongoing assessment of your workforce.
Find out more and sign up for a free 30 day trial now at http://uk.sageone.com/payroll/
You can also see how easy it is to manage Automatic Enrolment in Sage One by downloading our free ‘Guide to Automatic Enrolment‘.