The basics of workplace pensions (part 4): communicating to your employees

This article outlines the fourth step in our five-step guide to auto-enrolment and what you need to do as an employer. Once you’ve got your staging date and you’ve set up your qualifying pension scheme, it is your duty to tell all your employees about what’s happening, why, and how much they’ll need to contribute.

The Pensions Regulator has some useful guidance notes on ‘talking to your employees about pensions’, just remember, everyone is different. Some will qualify and some won’t, so make sure you communicate the right message to the right people.

  • Employees being automatically enrolled, automatically re-enrolled or enrolled following opt-in must be told how it will affect them and explained their right to opt out.
  • Jobholders with the right to opt in for the first time or entitled workers with the right to join for the first time must have explained their right to opt into an auto-enrolment scheme and the entitled worker’s right to join a pension scheme.
  • Workers affected by postponement must be informed about auto-enrolment postponement and their right to opt in or join during the postponement period.

The responsibility is on the employer to give the statutory information to a worker, and to give the information in writing. ‘Giving’ information, in the regulator’s view includes:

  • Sending hard copy information by post or internal mail
  • Handing over hard copy information by hand
  • Sending information in the body of an email
  • Sending information in pdf attachments or other attachments by email.

Someone acting on your behalf, such as an independent financial adviser (IFA), benefits consultant, accountant or bookkeeper can send the information, but it’s your responsibility to make sure it is communicated on time and correctly. You may choose to give all the information in one communication, such as in a booklet/brochure or joining package.

You must keep records of your communications for a minimum of six years.