• All employers have a duty to comply with new workplace pensions law, this is called automatic enrolment.  This includes individuals that employ workers for their own care and support.
  • Support and guidance on automatic enrolment can be obtained from The Pensions Regulator website http://www.thepensionsregulator.gov.uk/employers.aspx .  

The government intends to increase the number of people saving into a pension in the UK to help ensure they have an adequate retirement income.  The Department for Work and Pensions has introduced legislation which has changed the law on workplace pensions. All employers are now legally required to automatically enrol certain staff into a pension scheme and make contributions.  Those people who directly employ workers for their own care and support, whether self-funded or funded by direct payments are included as an employer just as they are for income tax and national insurance contributions.


As a council with adult social care responsibility we are writing to you because The Pensions Regulator research indicates that those who employ workers for their own care and support may turn to your members of staff for help with automatic enrolment and in particular, for those in receipt of direct payments, with questions about the pension contributions.  You may have seen and heard recent media attention in the press and on the radio about automatic enrolment that has focussed on people that employ their own care and support workers from the direct payment funding they receive from Local Authorities, NHS and also those that self-fund, and may already have started to receive such questions.  


 The regulator is responsible for maximising employers’ compliance with the duties.  The regulator is working to provide help and support to employers so that they know what they have to do and how to go about it.  Information and an explanation of the duties can be found at http://www.thepensionsregulator.gov.uk/employers.aspx .


The regulator has been working with organisations that people who employ workers for their own care and support may turn to for help with automatic enrolment such as User Led Organisations and support bodies like Skills for Care. The regulator has developed bespoke guidance for these employers. This can be found at http://www.thepensionsregulator.gov.uk/employers/automatic-enrolment-for-people-who-employ-their-own-care-and-support.aspx . In the event your staff are asked for help with automatic enrolment by people who employ their own care and support, they can be directed to the Pensions Regulator and the bespoke materials available on their website .


If you need help raising awareness about automatic enrolment amongst your staff who administer direct payments or have contact with people who employ workers for their own care and support, the regulator has a team that can provide training and speak at events to give detail of automatic enrolment.  It is possible to request a speaker via the web request form at http://www.thepensionsregulator.gov.uk/press-room.aspx . Please note however as resources are limited ample notice should be given, the speaking slot should be at least 1 hour and the audience of at least 20 advisors in order to be able to consider attendance.


Only workers over the age of 22, and whom are paid more than £192 a week or £833 a month (these amounts are reviewed every year) have to be automatically enrolled. Currently the employer must pay a minimum contribution of 1% of the workers earnings as a pension contribution rising to 3% by 2018. The employer pension contribution is a cost of employment as is employer national insurance contributions and we understand that when assessing the amount of the direct payment, the cost of employment must be taken into account. Accordingly costs associated with automatic enrolment should be included when making the assessment as detailed in the Care Act 2014 guidance page 208 footnote 170 .https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/366104/43380_23902777_Care_Act_Book.pdf