Qualifying earnings

Qualifying earnings are the minimum basis for calculating auto enrolment contributions for your employees. They’re all the earnings between a lower and upper limit that’s set by the government and reviewed each year.

Although there are other ways to work out contributions, we use the minimum level as our standard contribution model 101.

Qualifying earnings at a glance

Qualifying earnings are all an employee’s earnings between a lower and upper limit set by the government and reviewed each year.

For the 2021-2022 tax year:

  • the lower limit is £6,240
  • the upper limit is £50,270
  • the maximum qualifying earnings is £44,030 (£50,270-£6,240)

Qualifying earnings thresholds

              Pay periods              Lower level               Upper level
                 Weekly                  £120                   £967
              Fortnightly                  £240                  £1,934
              Four-weekly                  £480                  £3,867
                Monthly                   £520                  £4,189

An example

2021/2022 earnings: £20,000 salary + £5,000 bonus
Qualifying earnings: £25,000-£6,240 = £18,760.

What’s included

Qualifying earnings include:

• salary
• wages
• commission
• bonuses
• overtime
• statutory sick pay
• statutory parental leave pay (maternity, paternity and adoption pay).

Minimum auto enrolment contributions

The minimum auto enrolment contribution to an employee’s pension savings, based on qualifying earnings, is 8%.

The minimum employer contribution is 3%, so the minimum employee contribution is 5%.

Employee Employer Total
5% 3% 8%

This minimum contribution level is our basic contribution model (Scheme tier) 101.

There are four other contribution models (Scheme tiers) with different ways to work out contributions and higher contribution levels. It’s also possible to design a bespoke contribution structure for your Scheme.

Find out more about our contribution models.