Automatic enrolment if you earn up to £10,000

Only workers earning more than £10,000 – and aged between 22 and State Pension age – will be automatically enrolled into a workplace pension by their employers. But if you earn less, you still have the right to join a workplace pension, and you might still be entitled to pension contributions from your employer.

If you earn less than £6,032

You won’t be automatically enrolled into your employer’s workplace pension scheme.

If you ask, your employer has to give you access to a pension to save into, and has to make arrangements for you to join, but they’re not required to contribute to it.

If you earn between £6,032 and £10,000 (inclusive)

You won’t be automatically enrolled into your employer’s workplace pension scheme. However, you have the right to opt in.

If you join the scheme, then – provided you’re aged between 16 and 74 – your employer will have to contribute to it as well.

Salary thresholds if you are paid weekly, 4-weekly or monthly

Hardly anyone is paid yearly, but unfortunately you can’t just divide £10,000 by the frequency you are paid to find out if you are eligible as the thresholds are slightly different depending on whether you are paid weekly, fortnightly, 4-weekly or monthly.

Earnings are assessed in the regular period over which a worker is paid, this is known as the “pay reference period”. The relevant thresholds are shown in the table below:

Earnings thresholds for the current tax year (before tax earnings)

Pay reference period (how often you are paid)
2017/18 Annual Weekly Fortnightly 4-weekly Monthly
Lower level of qualifying earnings* £6,032 £116 £232 £464 £503
Earnings trigger for automatic enrolment** £10,000 £192 £384 £768 £833

*if you earn below this level you won’t be automatically enrolled but you can join if you want to. However, your employer doesn’t have to contribute

**If you earn above this level you will be automatically enrolled. If you earn below this level but above the lower level of qualifying earnings you won’t be automatically enrolled but you can join if you want to and your employer will have to pay in as well.

If your pay is very close to the threshold, or varies each payday to payday, talk to your employer to see what category you fall into.

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