The Department for Work and Pensions has issued a consultation (open from March 12 to June 3, 2009) on draft regulations regarding opt-outs and automatic enrollment. These regulations will support the mandatory automatic enrollment of employees into “qualifying” pension plans from 2012, as introduced by the 2008 Pensions Act.
The main provisions of the consultation are as follows:
- Automatic enrollment for employees will start from the first day they become eligible, which is generally when they reach 22 years of age and receive their first “qualifying earnings”.
- There will be a 14-day window for employers to enroll their eligible employees and provide specified information about the plan, the right to opt out (and opt in again) and the re-enrollment process.
- Employees will have up to 30 days to opt out, and, if they do, will be entitled to a refund of their contributions.
- Employers offering pension provision above a specified minimum level will be able to postpone automatic enrollment for up to 90 days. This will not apply to employers using the Personal Accounts plan.
This document is the first in a series of three consultations that will seek views on the proposed regulations to be established by under the 2008 Pension Act. Further consultations are planned in the Spring and Fall 2009.