Category Archives: NEST pension

How To Implement The NEST Pension

Employers who are looking for a simple cost effective pension scheme in order to comply with NEST pensionpension auto enrolment may like to consider implementing the NEST pension which has been developed by the government.  NEST is ideal for  small and medium sized businesses and helps employers comply with pension auto enrolment statutory legislation.

Employers may plan to implement NEST in accordance with their staging date or may bring their staging date forward as a volunteer employer.  It is important to first know when the staging date is before making a decision.

The first stage of implementing a NEST pension is to contact NEST ( and register to obtain an account.  It is important to finalise set up within 90 days of the first contact otherwise the whole process must begin again.

NEST should be provided with information about organisation – PAYE reference and contact information.  There should be a main contact in the organisation but additional delegates can be given access.  Worker groups and payment sources must then be added.

The workforce must be assessed according to age, salary and status.  They should fall into three separate categories  – eligible job holders, non-eligible job holders and entitled workers.  An employer must make pension contributions for eligible and non-eligible job holders but does not have to for entitled workers.

If implementing NEST and bringing the pension auto enrolment staging date forward employees should be written to at least one month before the proposed staging date.  Details on the NEST pension should be provided and as part of the pension auto enrolment process eligible workers should be offered the ability to opt out.  They have one month in which to opt out.  Any pension contributions that have been taken must then be refunded.  A consultation meeting should be offered so employees can discuss any concerns and queries about the process.

If an employer is voluntarily entering NEST they must get signed agreement from the employees to make deductions.

It is important to get NEST permission to auto enrol early.  This can be done by contacting NEST and completing a form over the phone which goes to the compliance department.  It is important to do this in good time in order to prevent any delays in meeting the planned earlier staging date.

If bringing the staging date forward the Pension Regulator must be informed in writing.  This can be done online using a 10 digit reference code that the employer will need to obtain or may done by letter or email.  This should be done in good time and at least a month before the earlier staging date.

The information to be provided is:

  • Employer name.
  • Employer PAYE scheme reference(s) eg 123/4AB (you can find this on your P35 employer annual return). Please include all PAYE scheme references that you operate.
  • The new (earlier) staging date chosen and your original staging date.
  • Employer’s address (including postcode) and email address.
  • The name of the owner or most senior accountable person at the employer (optional).
  • Companies House registration number or equivalent, eg registered charity number, VAT registration number or industrial provident society number.
  • A declaration from the employer that they have contacted a pension scheme and have obtained the agreement of the trustees or managers, provider, or administrator, that the scheme can be used to comply with the employer duties from the new (earlier) staging date.
  • Your name.
  • Your job title within your organisation.
  • Your contact telephone number, email address and business address.
  • Your own declaration that you are authorised to apply for a change of staging date.

Employee information should be provided to NEST.  This can be done manually or via a CSV file upload.  Employees will then be sent a welcome pack from NEST which will contain their ID number.  

Payroll should be set up for employer and employee contributions and NEST should then be provided with an employer/employee contribution schedule.

Employers should make contributions to NEST no later than the 22nd of the month after contributions have been taken.

It’s important to allow plenty of time in planning and implementing the process.  From experience this is a very heavily admin based procedure and there may be hiccups along the way.

Call 0845 241 1868 if you need assistance with implementing the NEST pension.




Pension Auto Enrolment – Employers Are Your Ready?

In accordance with the Pensions Act 2008 from October 2012 UK companies must have a pension in place into which employees will be automatically enrolled.  This could be an existing pension eg group personal pension or stakeholder pension so long as it meets the qualifying criteria.  However if a company does not have a pension scheme in place or do not introduce one then they can adopt the government’s scheme, National Employment Savings Trust (NEST).   There is no obligation to offer the NEST scheme to employees. Although its structure may suit some companies, it may not be suitable to others. However, it could be possible to offer a company pension scheme to some employees and NEST to others.  NEST is designed to simple and easy to use. The government has decided to introduce this to make it easier for people to save for their retirement as many are not currently doing so and to alleviate the ticking time bomb of the pension burden as the population grows older.

Auto-enrolment for pensions will impact on all employers between 2012 and 2016 depending on the size of the company and the number of employees, which will be established from PAYE records.   A company pension scheme must be compliant with government rules and companies must pay in contributions from both the company and their employees.  UK employers will be required to contribute a minimum percentage of each employee’s eligible earnings into a pension.   Employees will also need to pay a personal contribution into a pension.  The total minimum percentage contribution required of both employer and employee is being phased in.  In 2012 the minimum percentage is 2% rising to 8% by 2018.  Contributions can exceed this amount however. 

Employers have to automatically enrol workers who:

Are not already in a qualifying workplace pension scheme;

Are at least 22 years old;

Are below state pension age;

Earn more than £8,105 a year; and

Work or ordinarily work in the UK (under their contract)

These are eligible workers.  There are also non-eligible workers who fall outside the age range of 22-74 earning above £5,564 and below £8,105, they have the right to opt in and entitled workers who earn below £5,564 per year who have the right to join the pension scheme.   It is important to identify what category the employees fall into.  Employees are able to opt out of the scheme within one month of membership.  Any contributions they have made in that time must be refunded.  Employees must be identified for auto enrolment once every three  years.   

It is important to prepare early in good time for the appropriate staging date. Companies need to nominate a key contact in the company who will be responsible for pension auto enrolment.  Once the assessment stage has been completed it is important to communicate the changes to the workforce with the correct template documentation.  Once implemented pension records need to be keep for at least six years.

It is against the law to coerce employees into opting out of pension auto enrolment.  For companies who fail to comply with the statutory legislation the Pension Regulator has the power to impose huge fines.