Employers have a legal duty to assess all their employees aged 16-74, to see if they meet the criteria to be automatically enrolled a workplace pension scheme. To be eligible for auto enrolment you must:
- be between 22 and State Pension age
- earn more than £10,000 a year (£833 a month or £192 a week) before tax
- ordinarily work in the UK
Your employer has three months from the date their duties to automatically enrol workers starts, or from when you start working for them (whichever comes later) to assess and enrol you if you qualify.
Anyone who is eligible must be enrolled in a pension scheme by law. So if you've recently been enrolled, it's because your employer assessed you and found you eligible – even if you didn't meet the criteria in the past.
The benefits of staying in your pension scheme
The auto enrolment rules exist to encourage workers to save for retirement. If you are a tax payer, you'll benefit from tax relief when you make contributions to your pension. If you are automatically enrolled, your employer will also make contributions. By staying in the scheme, you'll also benefit from the money they add to your pension. The more you and your employer contribute now, the more your pension savings could grow before you retire. So the money you save now could help you achieve your future income goals, and have a more comfortable life in retirement.
If you decide you want to leave your pension scheme
If you are assessed as eligible and enrolled in your employer's workplace pension scheme, you can choose to opt out within one month of enrolment. If you opt out, you'll get a refund of any contributions you've made, but you won't benefit from any contributions your employer has made. Outside of the one month opt out period, you can cease membership at any time. You won't receive any refund on your contributions, but your contributions and your employers' will stay invested.