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Key points

  • Your client needs to pay regular contributions into the pension.
  • They need to monitor the age and earnings of all their staff, and any new staff joining.
  • They also have to process any requests to opt in, join or leave the scheme, and keep and maintain accurate records.
  • Your client will need to re-enrol every three years.
  • All of this should become 'business as usual' for your client, just like real-time PAYE.


Your client must calculate and pay their own contributions to their pension scheme on behalf of their staff, as well as calculating, deducting and paying over their staff’s own contributions.

Your client will have agreed contribution rates and when to pay them with the pension scheme when they were setting it up. The amount they must pay must be at or above the minimum amount set in law.

For more information about the minimum rates and paying contributions to a pension scheme, see our page on working out your client’s costs.

Changes in staff's age and earnings

Your client will need to monitor any changes in age and earnings of their staff so they can identify if their staff become eligible for automatic enrolment. They must also check eligibility of any new member of staff. Your client’s business software, eg their payroll, should be able to support them with this monitoring.

For more information on how to assess who to put into a pension scheme, see our page on checking who to enrol.

Opt outs

‘Opting out’ is when a staff member decides to leave their pension scheme within a month of being enrolled and get a full refund of any contributions they’ve made.

For more information on what to do, including issuing refunds, go to opting out.

Opt-ins and joiners

Some staff who aren’t eligible for automatic enrolment have a right to ‘opt in’ to a scheme your client uses for automatic enrolment. Staff who opt in are entitled to an employer contribution from your client.

Other staff, who earn under a certain amount, are entitled to ‘join’ a pension scheme. Though there’s no entitlement in law for your client to pay an employer contribution for these staff, they can choose to if they wish.

To find out who can opt in or join a scheme, and what your client must do if their staff ask to do so, go to opting in and joining.

Keeping records

Your client must keep up-to-date records about their staff, including who they’ve enrolled and when, information about their pension scheme, and the contributions they are paying.

To find out what information your client needs to keep about their staff and pension scheme, go to record-keeping.


Re-enrolment occurs every three years and is basically a repeat of the duties that your client carried out on their staging date or duties start date. Your client must ensure that eligible staff who are not already in a pension scheme that can be used for automatic enrolment are put back into it.

To find out how to automatically re-enrol staff, see our page on re-enrolment.

Advanced guidance

This resource is aimed at professional advisers and employers with in-house pensions professionals.