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Workplace Pension Auto-Enrolment – Small Business and Exemptions

Written by Jon Cooper

The law on the provision of Workplace Pensions has been implemented in phases since 2012. Eventually, virtually all UK employers will be legally required to automatically enrol most staff into a pension scheme and to make direct contributions.

This programme began in October 2012 for the largest employers. Now, the Staging Dates for small businesses are in the process of being issued by the Pension Regulator:

The Staging Date is the date by which the employer has a legal duty to have an operational Workplace Pension scheme in place.

This presents an onerous additional cost on small businesses. Not only will the employer be required to contribute up to 3% of qualifying earnings into the scheme, but also there will be additional payroll costs and the cost of implementing and running the pension scheme.

However, in the following instances, we can obtain an exemption from the Automatic Enrolment programme:

–              there is only one Director and there are no other staff working for the Company;

–              the only people working for the Company are Directors and none of them has an employment contract;

–              the only people working for the Company are Directors and only one of them has an employment contract;

–              the Company has ceased trading.

If you meet one of these conditions and would like us to obtain an exemption for your Company, please could you complete the form on the link below and email it back to us at admin@cooperfaure.co.uk.


For our clients, as this work is outside the scope of our Letter of Engagement, there will be a fee of £90.00 plus VAT for this service.

Please note that a Company having an existing pension scheme in itself does not make it exempt from the legislation.

In addition, if a Company that currently qualifies for an exemption employs a worker in the future, then the Automatic Enrolment duties would commence. If this is after the Staging Date, there is six week deadline from the date of this employment to set up a Workplace Pension scheme.

For our clients who will not be exempt from the provision of a Workplace Pension or who decide not to apply for the exemption, we are currently evaluating a number of solutions that have been tailored to small businesses.

As a result, we will soon be publishing newsletter on the operation of a Workplace Pension scheme.

In the meantime, if you would like any further information or clarification, please email us at welcome@cooperfaure.co.uk.

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