Articles - AE first time savers reach 11m landmark

There has been a welcome national focus on pension savings recently. It’s vital savers get to know their workplace pensions and consider carefully whether they are saving enough. Thanks to automatic enrolment (AE), just over 11 million people have been newly enrolled into a workplace pension since 2012, with many saving for their retirement for the first time. We are determined to ensure they – and all savers – get the workplace pensions they are due and the best value-for-money outcomes when they come to retire.

 By Sarah Howitt-Jones, Interim Joint Director of Automatic Enrolment at TPR

 For our AE teams, this means doing everything we can to ensure employers are meeting their pension duties to their staff.

 Last year alone we engaged directly with more than 600,000 employers to support compliance, and, through enforcement, recovered more than £135 million?in missing pension contributions (2022-2023).

 New site makes declaring compliance even easier
 We also listen to what employers are telling us they need.

 In January we launched an improved online service for employers and advisers to make it even simpler and easier to comply with their duties.

 The refreshed declaration of compliance site introduces important updates that enhance the user experience. Extensive user feedback was an important part of the redesign. While the fundamentals of the service remain the same, a new ‘duties task list’ lets users know which sections are complete.

 Other updates include improvements for those with accessibility needs and the ability to save or print a declaration summary instantly. The new design also makes it easy for declarations to be completed on a mobile device.

 We’re pleased to say more than 88,000 employers and advisers have already used the site to declare or redeclare their compliance since it went live on 8 January.

 There are also early indications that employers are finding the site easier to use, with more users completing their declarations and redeclarations.

 Re-enrolment is a key duty
 Our winter communications campaign is reminding employers that AE duties do not stop at enrolling employees, making that first declaration and paying contributions.

 They must re-enrol staff – and then redeclare their compliance – every three years to meet their duties and ensure savers’ pensions stay on track.

 Re-enrolment simply means putting eligible staff who have previously opted out back into a pension scheme. It recognises that their circumstances, income and employment may change. A workplace pension is a key employee benefit that employers shouldn’t lose sight of.

 More than 1 million saving again thanks to re-enrolment
 Thanks to the fresh opportunity re-enrolment offers, just over 1 million people are now saving for their future again, having previously opted out.

 We are telling employers there is no excuse for non-compliance.

 Those whose first re-enrolment deadline is coming up are being targeted with direct communications, as well as social media posts, urging them to re-enrol, as part of the campaign.

 “Act now – or risk a fine”
 The message is clear: ‘Do it now – it’s your legal duty. If you don’t, we can fine you’.

 As our compliance and enforcement work is data and information-led, we are able to monitor for non-compliance and take action where needed.

 The good news is that the vast majority of employers are meeting their duties. More than 2.3 million employers have enrolled or re-enrolled employees in workplace pensions since the launch of AE in 2012.

 Thanks to those employers, a total of around 20 million people are now saving into workplace pensions.

 Building on success
 Building on the success of AE, we are looking forward to working with the government as it seeks to further extend the framework, giving many more people the opportunity to save for their future. We’ll work with the pensions industry, as well as the DWP, to ensure employers have the support they need to plan for change.

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