Know your Staging Date
This is the date that you need to have your workplace pension set up by. If you already know it, great. If you don’t know it or want to check it, you can use our Staging Date Calculator, you’ll need your PAYE Reference to hand.
If you are already using Paycircle, your Staging Date is displayed on your Dashboard when you log in. This shows that the system knows your Staging Date, which means we will remind you to set up your pension in time.
If, for some reason, you have missed your Staging Date, please contact our Support Team straight away.
Register with The Pensions Regulator
You need to register with The Pensions Regulator to let them know who is looking after the pension for your company. It’s so that they have a point of contact for correspondence. It’s not vital at this stage but you will need to do it at some point.
Your Letter Code will be quoted on any correspondence you have received from The Pensions Regulator but if you don’t have it to hand you can find it on The Pension Regulator’s website.
You’ll need your PAYE Reference number and your Accounts Office Reference number to hand when you do this.
Check your existing company pension
If you already have a company pension you may wish to use your existing scheme and provider for your workplace pension.
The first thing you need to do is check that it is a compliant scheme, you can do this by contacting your pension provider.
If it is compliant, you can use this scheme for your whole team without having to set up an additional workplace pension. If it is not compliant you will need to set up a compliant workplace pension alongside your existing pension. Even if it is compliant, you may wish to set up a new pension scheme for automatic enrolment anyway.
If your existing scheme is compliant and you set up a new workplace pension scheme, you can exclude those members who are in your existing pension – or you can include them and allow them to opt out for themselves.
If your existing scheme is not compliant you will need to include everyone and allow people who do not want the additional pension to opt out for themselves.
Tell your team about the new workplace pension
You can do this now or nearer to your Staging Date, depending upon how far away that is. We recommend giving your team plenty of notice so that they can do some research themselves if they want to.
If you are already using Paycircle then we will take care of all of the communications for you. Paycircle will automatically send a notification to your team members three months prior to your Staging Date and then every month until they are assessed (which can be postponed by you for up to three months) and either enrolled or invited to join.
If you want to notify your team yourself, The Pensions Regulator has online templates that you can use, as do some pension providers who offer workplace pension schemes. Make sure that you don’t use any branded templates unless you have already chosen that pension provider for your workplace pension.
Choose your pension provider
If you have already chosen a pension provider then that’s great!
If you’re still not sure, don’t worry. Paycircle automatically links to a number of pension providers who offer compliant workplace pension schemes. If you want to do a comparison of these providers, you can us this cool free comparison tool to find out which pension is right for you and your team.
If you decide to choose a different pension provider, one that Paycircle doesn’t connect to automatically, please contact our Support Team who will be able to explain how Paycircle works with other providers.
We are not pensions advisers and cannot offer advice as to which pension you should choose. If you do want to take some advice before your choose your pension, please use someone who is authorised and regulated, like an independent financial adviser or pensions adviser.
Set up or connect your pension
Once you have chosen a pension provider, the next step is to set up your pension.
If you have chosen a pension provider, which Paycircle connects to automatically, you will be able to set everything up within Paycircle. Simply head to the Pension area in the app and follow the instructions for setting up a pension. Some pension providers offer the ability to set up a pension online via their own websites, which you can also do. Some providers, like Legal & General for example, do not offer the ability to set up a pension directly. In these situations, you will need to do it via Paycircle. Also, some providers have timeframes within which things need to be set up. Again, Legal & General for example, require that you set up your pension no sooner than 30 days prior to your staging date and no later than 30 days after. These are just some things to bear in mind.
As always, we are on hand to help with all of this, so if you are experiencing any problems setting up your pension simply contact our Support Team who will guide you through the process or set everything up for you.
If you already have a pension set up then all you need to do is connect it to Paycircle. This is done by adding your pension Employer Reference Number in the Pension area within the app. This will then connect your pension to your payroll within Paycircle.
If you are connecting a workplace pension which has been in place for a while and has been receiving contributions, there is a little bit more to do as Paycircle cannot access the scheme’s member details. It’s a simple file upload but it is an additional step, more on this later in the guide.
Most pension providers (apart from L&G) allow you to set up your pension well in advance of your Staging Date so it’s up to you when you set things up. However, your pension must in place by your Staging Date, even if you are planning on postponing the assessment of your team. More on this later in the guide.
If you want to, or have already, set up a pension with a provider that Paycircle does not automatically connect to, please contact our Support Team to find out how to use Paycircle pension reports to help manage your pension.
Set up Groups, Delegates and Direct Debits
Once you have your pension set up there are some additional options to consider and a couple of tasks to complete:
Groups: Once your pension is set up, you can set up Groups within your pension. This is basically different contribution levels for different groups of people within your company. You certainly do not need to set up Groups, your initial set up is perfectly sufficient in order to have a compliant Workplace Pension. If it’s your choice to set up different Groups, you can do this when you set up your pension. If you’re not sure if you need to set up different pension Groups, please talk to our Support Team for more information.
Delegates: Once your pension is set up and depending upon who sets it up, certain people need to be set up as Delegates. If you set the pension up yourself, you will need to set Paycircle up as a Delegate, in order for us to access your pension data automatically. If an intermediary sets up your pension then you may want access to your account directly too, in which case, your company needs to be set up as a delegate. Basically, anyone who wants access to your pension data needs to be set up as a delegate. Each pension provider has their own process for this. If you want to set up a delegate and are not sure what you need to do, please contact our Support Team.
Direct Debit: It’s important to set up a Direct Debit with your pension provider so that contributions are automatically paid on time. In most cases the pension provider will contact you to set this up or you can do it via your account on their website. The regulations state that contributions should be paid no later than the 22nd of each month, for the previous month. If payments are late, the pension provider can report you to The Pensions Regulator, who may then issue penalties and/or review your company for compliance. Much easier to set up a Direct Debit!
Assess your team
If you want a rough idea of what the new workplace pension will cost prior to your staging date, you can use our pensions assessment tool. You’ll need to know your teams’ salaries or approximate salaries and whether they are over 22 (or not) for the assessment to be as accurate as possible.
The pension assessment tool can only give an indication of who is likely to be enrolled and what everyone’s contributions may be, based upon the information you give. You can’t know the exact situation until after your team have been assessed on or after your Staging Date, once payroll has been run.
Paycircle will automatically assesses your team and send all relevant communications to your team members regarding their status after they have been assessed and either automatically enrolled or invited to join.
Your teams’ pension status information will be available both on your Paycircle Dashboard and in the Pension area.
Choose to Stage or Postpone
You can postpone the assessment of your team for up to three months from your Staging Date. If you do decide to postpone, you need to send a communication to your team within six weeks of your Staging Date, to let them know that you are postponing and that they can opt in or join earlier if they want to. You will also need to keep records of the communications that you send to your team regarding postponement.
Choose whether to use other postponement options
There are other situations where you can choose to postpone assessment of individual team members such as, when someone new joins your company or when someone’s enrolment status changes. If you choose to use postponement for an individual, you need to inform them that you are postponing their assessment and keep records of any communications that you send.
All postponement options are available in the Paycircle app. You can set these up when you connect your pension to Paycircle.
Complete your Declaration of Compliance
Once you have assessed your team and enrolled eligible team members and invited others to opt in or join you need to complete a Declaration of Compliance with the Pensions Regulator. In this declaration, you will need to provide details of your pension scheme as well as details as to who was enrolled, who was excluded and the reason for their exclusion.
Paycircle does this automatically, as soon as you have completed your first workplace pension assessment for your team.
An article by Catherine Pinkney.
Posted on Wednesday 25 Jan, 2017March 28, 2017