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

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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.

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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?

You may have a week 53 this year-end if you pay your employees on a Thursday or Friday and you last processed your payroll on these dates:

Weekly: Thursday 28 March or Friday 29 March 2024

Fortnightly: Thursday 21 March or Friday 22 March 2024

Four-weekly: Thursday 7 March or Friday 8 March 2024

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.

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.

Watch a video explaining week 53 and how to change your schedule.

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.