Press release

A million more workers saving for their retirement

The Pensions Regulator has confirmed that the millionth worker has been automatically enrolled into a workplace pension.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government


Automatic enrolment was introduced in October last year to ensure workers have access to an occupational pension.

The largest firms in the UK have already started enrolling their workers into pension saving, medium-sized firms are staring now, and the smaller businesses will follow in the years to 2018.

Minister for Pensions Steve Webb said:

Today is a real landmark in this quiet revolution, finally reversing decades of decline in pension saving. This is the biggest change to the pensions system for a century. The money workers save is being matched by contributions from their employers and topped-up by tax relief, helping them put money aside for their retirement, many for the first time.

By this time next year, thousands of employers will be automatically enrolling their staff, and by 2018 every employer in the country will have helped their staff start saving for later life.

The landmark one million figure is included in the monthly automatic enrolment registration report published by The Pensions Regulator. All employers have to register their information with the regulator.

The Travis Perkins Group was among the employers who registered when the one million employee mark was reached. The builders merchants has automatically enrolled around 9,000 of its workers into a pension scheme.

Geoff Cooper, Chief Executive of the Travis Perkins Group, said:

At the Travis Perkins Group, our employees are already among the most engaged in the UK. A critical part of this is down to recognition, reward and feeling good about their future. Encouraging every one of our 24,000 employees to save for the future is very important for us, and I am proud that our company has played a part in reaching this important first million.

The automatic enrolment scheme has helped us overcome some of the retirement savings inertia that people have, and our internal communications campaign seems to have struck a chord with many of our people.

Amongst those newly saving into a pension at work is Kelly Trew, Departmental Secretary at the Travis Perkins Group. She said:

Even though I knew I should be saving for my pension, it was just too much hassle before. So when I started hearing about the new scheme at work, the fact that I would be automatically enrolled into the pension made the decision for me. And now, I’m looking to see when I can put more money into it.

Charles Counsell, director of automatic enrolment at The Pensions Regulator, said:

The Pensions Regulator is delighted to be able to announce a million more people are now saving into a pension. This milestone is a real credit to the hundreds of employers who have helped make the early implementation of automatic enrolment a success.

There is still much to be done, with the challenge of large numbers of medium employers due to automatically enrol their workers early next year. The Pensions Regulator is working to make sure they are prepared.

More about automatic enrolment

Starting with the largest firms in October 2012, employers will now be required by law to pay into a workplace pension for those workers who are automatically enrolled and who do not opt out.

Employers will automatically enrol workers into a workplace pension who:

  • are not already in a qualifying pension scheme
  • are aged 22 or over
  • are under State Pension age
  • earn more than £9,440 a year (in 2013/14 terms and this figure is reviewed every year), and work or usually work in the UK

The minimum contribution rates that an employer must pay into their worker’s pension scheme are being introduced gradually. This is known as ‘phasing’. The minimum contributions are currently a total contribution of 2% with at least 1% employer contribution. This builds to a minimum contribution of 8% by October2018 (with a minimum employer contribution of 3%), but many employers and individuals will choose to contribute more.

The Pensions Regulator is responsible for supporting employers in meeting their automatic enrolment duties. They provide information and tools to guide employers through the process.

More information

Around 11 million people are not saving enough to achieve the pension income they are likely to want or expect in retirement, and less than 1 in 3 adults are contributing to a pension, while people are on average living longer – in the past 25 years, life expectancy at age 65 has increased by 5 years for men and 3 years for women.

Employers have up to four months from their staging date to provide the regulator with information on automatic enrolment. This is known as registration. Because of this window, many employers who staged before July 2013 have yet to complete the registration process and will therefore not be included in published figures.

An employer’s staging date is set in law and the date when duties go live is set by statute. Employers who wish to bring forward their staging date can do so, but you must notify The Pensions Regulator of this decision one month before the new staging date. Details on how to do this are on the regulator’s website

The numbers enrolled into workplace pensions were published in the Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings

The registration figures are in the automatic enrolment registration report

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Published 19 July 2013