Help Centre for Payroll bureaux

Full bureau implementation guide (Bureau Microsite)

Welcome to the NOW: Pensions Trust!

This guide provides comprehensive help to assist you with implementation.

In the sections below we provide a summary of each of the steps you will need to take to get set-up, links to more detailed help where you need it, and links to documents and templates that will be useful to you and your organisation.

Towards the bottom of this page are further documents that provide greater detail on implementation issues ranging from data file specifications to employee communication.


Step 1
Set up your microsite for the first time

You will only need to follow this step the first time you set up an employer on the microsite.

If this is the first employer you need to setup, you will have received an email with a unique link to the microsite and another email with your temporary password. This microsite will be used for all of your clients who have selected you as the primary administrator for their scheme.

Once you’ve received a second e-mail confirming that the microsite is available, you then need to log in and perform some set tasks. You will need to use the email address this email was sent to as the login name and the temporary password received in a previous email.

Download “A guide to setting up and using your NOW: Pensions Trust bureau microsite” from the “Documents” section below, which we recommend you print, and follow each step as you set up the online site.

Don’t forget to save the site URL to your favourites as you will need to access the site regularly and send us your data.

Step 2
Set up subsequent employers on the microsite

For every subsequent employer, you will receive an email confirmation from us informing you that an additional employer has been added to your microsite.

You will then have to set up each subsequent employer in the same way you did the first one. If you haven’t already done so in step 1, please download “A guide to setting up and using your NOW: Pensions Trust bureau microsite” from the “Documents” section below.

Step 3
Provide employee information

You will need to provide us with information about the employer’s employees and the contributions they wish us to invest. We will use this information to set up each employer’s record. In cases where NOW: Pensions has been asked to deliver the auto enrolment communications, the contact information will also be used to communicate directly with the employer’s employees.

Email is the preferred method of contact for the purpose of communicating to the employees prior to them being enrolled as members into the NOW: Pensions Trust, and in cases where the employer has asked NOW: Pensions to perform the auto enrolment communications. Email is efficient, effective and will enable the employees to manage their pension online. In the absence of an email address, and where NOW: Pensions supply the auto enrolment communications, they will be posted by us to the address provided and the cost for this will be invoiced to the employer on a regular basis.

Once fully enrolled into the plan, employees will receive standard communications from time to time that are all included in the scheme.

If the communication to the employer’s employees are being issued by payroll software or by the employers themselves, please ensure that the URL with the bureau code provided to you, is embedded in the communications to employees. They will need this in order to activate their member account, assuming a unique email address has been provided for the employee to NOW: Pensions.

Step 4
Data and interface specifications

The data you provide usually comes from your payroll software and must be in a specific format which is detailed in the “Interface specifications payroll to NOW: Pensions employer assessment” document which is available in the “Documents” section below.

Please contact your payroll software provider to let them know that NOW: Pensions will be providing the employer’s pension Plan. Although they may already be aware of our file format requirements, we recommend that you pass them a copy of the file specifications to ensure that files can be created in the correct format and thus easily imported from the payroll into the microsite. This may involve an upgrade to your payroll software and you may also need to input some basic details about the Plan into your payroll software, such as the fact that we are an Occupational Auto Enrolment Scheme and that contributions are deducted from pay before tax (Net Pay) thus employee pension contributions are paid to us in full.

The generic output file should be downloaded prior to running each payroll. This will confirm if anyone has requested to increase contributions online and details of employees who have opted out and opted in online. The format is detailed in the “Interface Specifications NOW: Pensions to Payroll” document which can be found in the “Documents” section below. Payrolls should be updated to reflect these changes for employees.

It is your responsibility to ensure that your payroll data is correct. But we have provided a Validation Tool that will help you to check your payroll file before you import it into the portal. Please follow this link to our Validation Tool. The tool supports both Generic Input Files and Generic Jericho Formats. If you use any other file type, please skip straight to step 4). Please correct any problems that the Validation Tool identifies. Please note that not all errors can be identified by the Validation Tool at this stage.

Step 5
Make the required payments for each member

Payments will be deducted using Direct Debit and will be based on the gross contribution totals shown in the files which you upload, with the exception of employees who are still within their opt out window. Contributions will be deducted for these individuals, if they stay in the scheme, the first pay period after they have passed this window.

Payments will then be deducted using the Direct Debit Mandate and based on the gross contribution totals shown in the files which you upload into each employer site. Our Plan is a “Net Pay” arrangement and not “Relief at Source”, therefore contributions are deducted from the employee’s pay as a gross amount before tax is calculated.

For more information please refer to our frequently asked questions titled: Is the contribution taken before tax and NI?

If you would like to see a breakdown of your Direct Debit payments, you can do this by accessing a ‘Direct Debit Contribution Reconciliation’ report via your NOW: Pensions Portal. From here you will be able to reconcile the contribution figures that are quoted on the Direct Debit collection emails that are issued and also establish why contributions may not have been collected for some employees.

For further information, please see the How do I reconcile or see a breakdown of Direct Debit contributions on our help centre.

Step 6
Maintain employer sites

Remember to keep your details up to date, updating contact information as well as making sure employee information is updated as it changes and in the files uploaded for each payroll period.

Please note, a minimum of 3 months and a maximum of 12 months future pay periods should be entered in the site at any one time.

* Important Documents

NOW: Pensions has a good technical infrastructure combined with a pension product suitable for our team. We couldn’t be happier with NOW: Pensions.
Martin Woods,