The staging date is a key piece of information when planning ahead for automatic enrolment. It is crucial that you know yours.
The staging date is when eligible jobholders are enrolled onto a pension scheme. Dates depend on the number of employees in your PAYE scheme, with the biggest organisations having been obliged to adopt the system first.
The Pensions Regulator should have informed you in writing of your company’s staging date, and you can also check the date on their website by using your PAYE reference.
Staging dates according to the size of a company
• 250 or more employees: 1st February 2014
• 50-249 employees: 1st April 2014 to 1st April 2015
• 49 employees or less: 1st June 2015 to 1st April 2017
• New employers: 1st April 2017 onwards
Your duties as an employer come into force on the staging date, when you automatically enrol all eligible jobholders onto your chosen pension scheme.
Changing your staging date
Bringing it forward
You can bring forward your staging date if you wish. You might want to do this if there is more than one associated company within a group with different staging dates, or to link it with your financial year.
To bring your staging date forward you need to tell the Pensions Regulator using their online service, via email, fax or postal mail. This must be done at least one calendar month before the new date. You also need to have the agreement of the pension scheme administrator.
The Pensions Regulator website offers a list of available dates for moving your staging date forward, and you must provide all the information they request. This includes, but is not limited to:
• Employer name, postal address and email address
• Employer PAYE reference number
• Company registration number (if applicable)
• Declaration that the pension scheme administrator agrees to the new date
Putting back the staging date
Putting the staging date back is not an option apart from under specific circumstances. These include:
• Having less than 50 employees on 1st April 2012
• Running a PAYE scheme with more than 50 members
There is no legal obligation to inform the Pensions Regulator of the change of date, but as they issue reminders when declarations of compliance are not received, it would prevent reminders being sent out if you let the Regulator know.
As with moving a staging date forward, you can only choose certain dates which are displayed on the Pensions Regulator website.