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Auto-enrolment is when all UK employers have to enrol eligible employees into a workplace pension automatically. It’s short for “automatic enrolment for workplace pensions”.

In simpler terms, as long as you’re working as an employee and you’re over 22 years old, your employer has to provide you with a pension scheme.

The only exception is for directors who don’t have contracts of employment. Your own limited company cannot auto-enrol you without a specific contract of employment.

When did auto-enrolment start?

Auto-enrolment was first introduced in 2012, starting with our largest companies and being phased gradually until February 2018 when all eligible employees had to be enrolled. It was introduced to prevent people from missing out on the security of a pension because their employer didn’t offer it, or because they decided not to join. 

To be eligible, you must be:

  • Over 22 years old
  • Earning more than £10,000 per year
  • Working in the UK

How much do I pay?

This depends on your qualifying earnings. They are your earnings before Income Tax and National Insurance between £6,240 and £50,000 in the 2019/21 tax year.

Take a look at the below table to understand the percentages that you’ll be paying, or check out the Pension Advisory Service for more details. 

Date Employer pays You pay Government tax relief Total contribution
From 6 April 2019 3.0% of your qualifying earnings 4.0% of your qualifying 


1.0% of your qualifying 


8.0% of your qualifying 


6 April 2018 to 5 April 2019 2.0% of your qualifying earnings 2.4% of your qualifying 


0.6% of your qualifying 


5.0% of your qualifying 


Up until 5 April 2018 1.0% of your qualifying earnings 0.8% of your qualifying 


0.2% of your qualifying 


2.0% of your qualifying 



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