If a worker opts out of pensions auto-enrolment, does the employer have any further auto-enrolment duties in relation to that worker?
Yes, if a worker opts out of pensions auto-enrolment, the employer will have a duty to reassess the worker at some point. When the employer duties kick in again depends on the worker's status at the date on which the employer's auto-enrolment duties toward them begin.
If an eligible jobholder opts out after being auto-enrolled, or after staging if they were already a pension scheme member on the staging date, the employer must reassess their status every three years, within a three-month window either side of every third anniversary of the initial staging date or duties start date. If the worker is an eligible jobholder at the assessment date, the employer must auto-enrol them again, unless they opted out less than 12 months before the re-enrolment date.
If a worker who is an existing member of a pension scheme on the staging date but not an eligible jobholder (ie they were not aged 22 or over with at least the minimum required qualifying earnings) subsequently chooses to opt out of pension saving after staging, the employer must reassess the worker each pay reference period. If the worker reaches the relevant age and earnings threshold and becomes an eligible jobholder, the employer must auto-enrol them immediately, even if that is during the next pay reference period after the worker opted out. Similarly, if an entitled worker joins, or a non-eligible jobholder opts into, the pension scheme after staging or the duties start date, and subsequently opt outs, the employer must continually reassess their status and auto-enrol them if they become an eligible jobholder.
It is therefore important that employers keep records of workers' status at the staging date or duties start date, and when a new employee joins the organisation, so they can calculate when the duty to reassess a worker who opts out will apply.