1. If a company has three directors and no other employees, do they need to set up an AE scheme?
They can choose whether to apply the AE duties or not. So, they don’t need to set up a scheme. All the other duties and safeguards will apply as usual.
There’s more information on this exemption in paragraphs 107-109 of the AE detailed guidance and in technical central.
2. Does a non-UK employer have any duties in respect of employees in the UK?
If the contract of employment places the employee in the UK, the employer will have to assess that employee even if the employer is based overseas.
There is more information on assessing a worker in the AE detailed guidance.
3. What are the options if an employee is affected by the tapered annual allowance, and the total contributions to the AE scheme are greater than their available annual allowance for the current year?
There are three main options:
- The contributions can continue as expected and the employee pays any annual allowance tax charge due. However, there could be unused annual allowance from a previous tax year which could reduce or eliminate any tax charge.
- The scheme could switch to a definition of qualifying earnings for this member. This would allow the employee to continue being a member of the AE scheme but contributions would be below the tapered annual allowance therefore avoiding a charge. The employee could negotiate further salary or bonus in exchange.
- Contributions could be restricted to the available annual allowance therefore avoiding any annual allowance tax charge. This could mean the member has to cease membership of the AE scheme if contributions were below the AE minimum. The contributions could be made to another scheme or another non-AE section within the same scheme. Again, the employee could negotiate further salary or bonus in exchange.
4. If an employee is an entitled worker, does the employer need to contribute if the employee wants to join a scheme?
No. The employer doesn’t need to contribute but many do. The employer does however have a duty to choose a pension scheme the entitled worker can join. This doesn’t have to be an AE scheme but the employer does have to deduct contributions on behalf of the entitled worker and pay these into the scheme.
5. What happens to AE pension contributions during parental leave?
If a member of an AE scheme goes on parental leave, they can continue to pay contributions during their parental leave. During the period of paid parental leave, individual contributions will be based on the actual earnings the individual is receiving. Employer contributions will be based on the level of earnings immediately before parental leave.
Want to know more?
You can find out more about auto enrolment in technical central.