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4 - Automatic Enrolment in Pensions

Automatic enrolment in the care sector – an overview

This page is based on guidance written by the Pensions Regulator (TPR)

Pensions Regulator logoThe Pensions Regulator logo

Key points

  • All employers have a duty to comply with new workplace pensions law; this is called automatic enrolment. This includes people who employ workers for their own care and support.
  • Support and guidance on automatic enrolment can be obtained from The Pensions Regulator website 

Overview and links to web content

The government wants to increase the number of people saving into a pension fund in the UK to help ensure they have an adequate retirement income. All employers are now legally required to automatically enrol certain staff into a pension scheme and make contributions. This includes people who directly employ workers for their own care and support, whether self-funded or funded by Direct Payments - they are considered to be an employer and are responsible for doing this, just as they are for income tax and national insurance contributions.

People who employ staff for their own care and support may ask local authorities or their agents for help with automatic enrolment and, in particular for those in receipt of direct payments, with questions about the pension contributions. This guidance is focussed on people who employ their own care and support workers from a Direct Payment they receive from either a Local Authority, the NHS or those that self-fund.

The Pensions Regulator is responsible for maximising employers’ compliance with their automatic enrolment duties. They are working to provide help and support to employers, so that they know what they have to do and how to go about it.

Only workers over the age of 22 who are paid more than £192 a week, or £833 a month (these amounts are reviewed every year), have to be automatically enrolled. The employer must pay a minimum contribution of 3% of the worker’s earnings as a pension contribution. The employer pension contribution is a cost of employment and when assessing the amount of the Direct Payment, the cost of employment must be taken into account. Accordingly, costs associated with automatic enrolment should be included when making the assessment.

TPR have been working with organisations that help people who employ workers for their care and support with questions about automatic enrolment. These include user-led organisations and support bodies such as Skills for Care. TPR have developed bespoke guidance for these employers.  In the event that your staff are asked for help with automatic enrolment by people who employ their own care and support, they can be directed to the materials available on the TPR website 

Last updated: 08/07/2021