Press release

Standing ovation as auto-enrolment hits 5 million and auto-transfer launch plans are unveiled

The number of employees automatically enrolled into a workplace pension scheme has passed the 5 million mark.

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

Department for Work and Pensions

The spotlight shines on staff at the Rose Theatre in Kingston today (11 December 2014), as they help celebrate a pensions milestone. The south London playhouse has taken the number of people now automatically enrolled into a workplace pension across the UK past the 5 million mark.

5 million employees have been automatically enrolled into a workplace pension

And, along with the dramatic milestone, Pensions Minister Steve Webb announces today that autumn 2016 will see the launch of a new system in which small pension pots will automatically follow workers from job to job.

Automatic enrolment into a workplace pension is an easy, hassle free way for workers to save for their retirement while they are earning. Combined with this, automatic transfers mean that it will soon be much easier for people to keep their savings in one place when they change employers.

Pensions Minister Steve Webb said:

When we came into government, the number of people saving into a workplace pension was low and declining. But our reforms are revolutionising the pensions landscape, making pension saving normal again, and helping millions more people save towards a secure and comfortable retirement.

As people typically have 11 different jobs over their working life, we need to build on the achievements of automatic enrolment with a scheme that enables people to keep their savings in one place, and I am pleased to confirm we are on track to achieve this by autumn 2016.

The 5 million breakthrough – which marks a passing of the halfway point in the roll out of automatic enrolment to the UK’s eligible workforce – is confirmed in figures released today by The Pensions Regulator.

The 5-millionth worker to join the cast of those automatically enrolled into a workplace pension is 23 year old Siobhan Sharp, the Rose Theatre’s marketing officer. She is currently busy promoting the theatre’s Christmas show, ‘The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe’.

Siobhan, who has been in her job for a year and a half, said:

I work behind the scenes on productions at the theatre so it makes a change for me to be centre stage as the five millionth person to be automatically enrolled!

I wasn’t saving towards a pension before and hadn’t really given it much thought. But knowing I’m now saving for my future is very reassuring, so I am glad it’s happened.

This month’s automatic enrolment registration report shows that around 43,000 employers of all types, from charities to supermarkets and hospitals to football clubs and theatre groups, have now automatically enrolled their workers.

The roll out began in 2012 starting with the largest employers, and the duties will extend to the smallest firms and new employers by 2018.

The policy was introduced to address under-saving with millions not putting aside enough for retirement, and only 1 in 3 private sector workers paying into a workplace pension at the time.

Figures show that around 9 out of 10 people who have been automatically enrolled have remained enrolled and not exercised their right to opt out of their work-place pension.

The Pensions Regulator’s Executive director for automatic enrolment, Charles Counsell said:

Automatic enrolment affects every employer with workers in the UK. It’s automatic for staff – they don’t have to do anything. But it’s not automatic for employers: they need to take steps to make sure certain workers are enrolled.

Around 43,000 employers have automatically enrolled their staff into a pension and nearly half of them said they wished they had left more time as it took them longer than they thought. We encourage all employers, however small, to learn from the experience of other employers – leaving extra time is better than leaving it too late.

Automatic transfers

DWP continues to work with stakeholders to develop the details of the automatic transfers – or “pot follows member” – implementation model. The autumn 2016 timetable confirmed today is designed to bring in the scheme as soon as possible while also giving sufficient time for industry to develop the new systems required.

The government will publish further information about the implementation model and timetable in early 2015, ahead of consulting on draft regulations.

More information

Automatic enrolment

All employers must declare their compliance to the Pensions Regulator after automatically enrolling their staff.

In 2014, tens of thousands of employers have reached their staging date. Eventually up to 1.3 million employers will have automatically enrolled up to 10 million eligible workers into a workplace pension scheme.

See the statistics on The Pensions Regulator website.

Rose Theatre Kingston

Rose Theatre Kingston employs 101 people. It produces its own productions as well as hosting work from theatre companies including the Royal Shakespeare Company and the English Touring Theatre in its 900-seat auditorium.

Recent works include Alan Bennett’s ‘Single Spies’, Jacqueline Wilson’s ‘Hetty Feather’, Michael Frayn’s ‘Donkeys’ Years’, Richard Bean’s ‘Smack Family Robinson’, Peter Nichols’ ‘A Day in the Death of Joe Egg’ and Henrik Ibsen’s ‘The Lady from the Sea’.

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Published 11 December 2014