It is possible to postpone pension enrolment for the first 3 months of a worker’s employment. This is known as ‘postponment’ and can be relied on from:
the employer’s auto-enrolment duty start date
the worker’s first day of employment
the date the worker meets the auto-enrolment criteria
To postpone their auto-enrolment duty, the employer must write to the worker stating that they intend to postpone pension enrolment. This letter must be sent within 6 weeks of the postponment start date. If a worker is on a fixed-term contract lasting less than 3 months, it may be possible to avoid pension enrolment altogether using this method.
Upon receiving the letter, the worker can either accept the postponement or request immediate enrolment into the pension scheme. If a worker requests to be enrolled the employer must do so as soon as possible.
At the end of the postponement period, the employer should assess whether the worker meets the age and earnings criteria to be put into a pension scheme. If they do, the worker must immediately be put into a pension scheme, and pension contributions must be paid. It is not possible to postpone the pension contributions of a new worker beyond the initial 3 month period. For more information on pension postponement, read The Pension Regulator’s guidance.