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Automatic Enrolment Timetable

Volume 539: debated on Wednesday 25 January 2012

On 28 November 2011, the Government announced that the timetable for the implementation of automatic enrolment will be adjusted so that small businesses are not affected by the reforms during this Parliament. This will provide them with some additional breathing space to prepare for the reforms while operating in tough economic times.

We also reaffirmed our commitment that automatic enrolment will start on time, from October 2012, and will apply to all employers.

I can now confirm that under the revised timeline, all employers with an existing staging date of on or before 1 February 2014 are unaffected. This means that no large employer will have to make any changes to their plans—which are in many cases already advanced.

Medium-sized employers will be reallocated automatic enrolment dates between 1 April 2014 and 1 April 2015. This means that the implementation dates of some of these employers will be up to nine months later. However, this still means that around 70% of eligible workers will be automatically enrolled before the end of this Parliament compared with around 75% under previous arrangements.

Small employers will be allocated automatic enrolment dates between 1 June 2015 and 1 April 2017.

New employers setting up business from 1 April 2012 and up to and including 30 September 2017 will have automatic enrolment dates between, and including, 1 May 2017 and 1 February 2018. Any new employer setting up from 1 October 2017 onwards will be required to comply immediately if paying earnings which attract PAYE deductions in respect of any worker.

We propose to delay from 1 October 2016 to 1 October 2017 the increase in the minimum rate of employer pension contributions from 1% to 2% of banded earnings. Contributions will increase to 3% from 1 October 2018.

We plan to publish a consultation document on the detail of these changes shortly. Draft regulations and an impact assessment will be published alongside the consultation document.

The table below sets out the revised automatic enrolment dates for all employer sizes.

Employer Size (by PAYE Scheme Size) or Other DescriptionAutomatic Enrolment Duty Date

From (inc.)

To (inc.)

250 or more members

1st October 2012

1st February 2014

50 to 249 members

1st April 2014

1st April 2015

Test tranche for less than 30 members

1st June 2015

30th June 2015

30 to 49 members

1st August 2015

1st October 2015

Less than 30 members

1st January 2016

1st April 2017

Employers without PAYE schemes

1st April 2017


New employers Apr 2012 to Mar 2013

1st May 2017


New employers Apr 2013 to Mar 2014

1st July 2017


New employers Apr 2014 to Mar 2015

1st August 2017


New employers Apr 2015 to Dec 2015

1st October 2017


New employers Jan 2016 to Sep 2016

1st November 2017


New employers Oct 2016 to Jun 2017

1st January 2018


New employers Jul 2017 to Sep 2017

1st February 2018


New employers Oct 2017

Immediate duty