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Key points

  • An employer can postpone automatic enrolment for up to three months from certain dates.
  • If your client postpones from their staging date, the staging date does not change.
  • If your client chooses to postpone from their staging date, they still have duties (eg they must write to tell the staff who will be postponed, within six weeks of their staging date).
  • Use our sample postponement letter to write to staff.

Why your client might postpone

One of the main reasons your client might decide to postpone is if they have new temporary or short-term staff who they know will stop working for them within three months.

Your client can also use it to align automatic enrolment with their other business processes, or they can choose to postpone automatic enrolment for any other business reason.

When your client can postpone

Your client can only postpone automatic enrolment from:

  • their staging date
  • a staff member’s first day of employment
  • the date a staff member first becomes eligible for automatic enrolment

If your client postpones from their staging date, it doesn’t change their staging date.

Postponing automatic enrolment

Your client must write to tell the staff whose automatic enrolment they’re postponing. They have six weeks from the date postponement starts to write to them. There’s no need to tell us that a client has decided to postpone automatic enrolment.

Your client can postpone for up to three months. They can postpone as many or as few staff as they like and the postponement period doesn’t have to be the same length for everyone.

Our postponement letter template for all staff helps your client write to them as required by law. You can tailor the letter template to your needs.

During the postponement period

Staff whose automatic enrolment your client has postponed can choose to opt in to your client’s pension scheme during the postponement period.

For more information about what to do if your client gets an opt-in request, go to opting in and joining.

At the end of the postponement period

On the last day of the postponement period, your client will need to know whether any member of staff whose automatic enrolment they’ve postponed is still eligible to be enrolled. If they are, your client must put them into a pension scheme straight away. Your client cannot apply a further period of postponement even if they postponed for less than the three months allowed.

Advanced guidance

These resources are aimed at professional advisers and employers with in-house pensions professionals.

  • 3a. Postponement (PDF, 92kb, 21 pages)

    It includes examples of other notices you might want to send to staff depending on whether they have a right to enrol, opt in or join a pension scheme.

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