Everything you need to know about setting up and running an auto enrolment workplace pension scheme with NOW: Pensions.

Increase in member fees and charging limit

From 1st April 2022, we’re increasing member administration charges from £1.50 per month for each member to £1.75. This will increase the annual charge from £18 to £21, an increase of £3 a year overall.

We’re also introducing a charging limit, which means that if any members have £100.00 or less in their pension savings, we won’t charge them a monthly administration fee. This will help prevent the value of members’ savings being eroded by charges. Partial deductions will be made to the member’s savings account where required so that the fee does not decrease the account below £100.

We’ve varied your Participation Agreement to reflect these and other changes (we’ve already contacted you about this) and you’ll need to let your employees know too.

For more information, download the Varied Participation Agreement

How we keep administration simple

Our secure online system gives you control of your workplace pension. Your employees get online access to their pension savings as well as the wealth of information in our help centre.

How we help your business

Employer FAQs

What is pay period 53?

Pay period 53 takes place when there are 53 weekly pay days in the year (for example, if it’s a leap year). The extra pay run is commonly known as a week 53.

How do you know if you have a week 53?
In 2020-21 there are 53 Mondays (the first being 6 April 2020 and the 53rd being 5 April 2021). If you pay your employees weekly, two weekly or four weekly on Monday 5 April 2021, you’ll have an extra pay run at the end of the 2020-21 tax year.

If you pay your employees monthly, you won’t have a week 53.

How does it affect the payroll run?

If you run a weekly, two-weekly or four-weekly payroll you may need to complete an additional period after week 52 to finish your PAYE tax year.

If your normal pay date falls on 5 April in 2021, you’ll need to complete the additional period to complete your tax year – even though this might only be one or two days.

How do I amend the pay schedule?

Once you’ve submitted pay period 53, select ‘Edit schedule’ – you can find this on the payroll page under the dates for your next expected file submission – to manipulate pay period 1 to match the dates to your payroll structure.

Monthly payrolls aren’t affected by the additional week.

What does pay period 53 mean for employees?

HMRC instructs employers to give employees an extra amount of tax-free pay – even if their tax-free pay for the year has been allocated. This helps to protect employees’ take-home pay, and ensures the tax for that week doesn’t vary too much from the usual amount.

Once the tax year ends, HMRC will recover the underpaid tax given by the extra personal allowance, by sending out a P800 calculation.

If you have any questions or need information, email us on clientsupport@nowpensions.com. Please include your four-digit employer code in the email.

You can also call our dedicated support team on 0330 100 3336 from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday.

Members can view their benefit statement on a secure online website at Statements.nowpensions.com.

  • If we have their email address, we send them an email explaining how to log in to the website and see their benefit statement.
  • If we don’t have an email address for them, we post a letter to their home address which explains how to log in to the website and see their benefit statement.

The Pensions Regulator (TPR) is interested in all employers who pay contributions late. We’re legally obliged to monitor your contribution payments and report to TPR if contributions are more than 90 days late (or there’s some other significant payment failure). We also have to tell your employees.

If an employee leaves their employment they stop being an active member of the Scheme (‘cease active membership’). They will no longer pay contributions and neither will you, as their employer. 

You’ll need to put the employee’s leaving date in your pension data file before you upload it. This will close their record as an active member. We’ll send them a ‘leaver’ letter explaining the options they have for their pension savings in the Scheme. 

Yes. You can delay auto enrolment for some or all your employees by up to three months. This is known as ‘postponement’.

This could be useful if you have staff on short-term or temporary contracts who won’t still be working for you after three months.

You can also delay auto enrolment to align with your company accounting and payroll periods.

Postponing auto enrolment doesn’t affect your duties start date. If you decide to postpone auto enrolment, you must send postponement notices to each employee within six weeks of your duties start date. If you’ve asked us to send your statutory communications you’ll need to have successfully uploaded your first pension data file, showing the assessment category for each employee, before we can send postponement notices.

So even if you choose to postpone, you’ll need to have your workplace pension with us up and running by the time of your duties start date if you want us to send your statutory communications.

If any of your employees write to you before the deferral date and ask to join a pension scheme, you must put them in. If you put them into our Scheme, you’ll have to pay contributions on their behalf

We operate a net pay scheme. Pension contributions are deducted from employees’ pay and paid over to the Scheme before income tax is calculated.

You’ll need to:

  • calculate pension contributions on gross (before tax) pay and
  • work out your employees’ income tax after their pension contributions have been deducted.

As a result your employees who are taxpayers won’t pay any income tax on their pension contributions. They automatically get full tax relief.

Employees who don’t earn enough to pay tax don’t normally get tax relief – but we’ve set up our Scheme so they don’t miss out. We have a tax top-up scheme so employees who don’t pay tax can claim tax relief and have it added to their pension savings in the Scheme. (Employees must claim this themselves – it’s not something you can do on their behalf as their employer.)

What other types of tax relief are there?

There’s another type of tax relief arrangement called relief at source. In this kind of scheme, the employer must deduct 80% of employees’ pension contributions from their take-home pay (after income tax has been taken off).
The pension scheme claims the tax relief from HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) each month and pays it back to the employee. HMRC only sends back the basic rate of tax: 20%.

Higher or additional-rate taxpayers can claim back the rest of the tax relief from HMRC either by writing to them separately, or through their annual self-assessment tax return.