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When does auto-enrolment come into force?

The duty on employers to auto-enrol certain workers into a qualifying pension scheme began to come into force on 1 October 2012. The largest employers (those with 120,000 or more people in their PAYE scheme as of 1 April 2012) were affected first, with the duty being extended gradually to all employers based on their size. The duty came into force for employers with fewer than 50 people in their PAYE scheme (as of 1 April 2012) between June 2015 and April 2017. The duty will apply to all employers, including new employers, by February 2018.

Workers have protection from being subjected to a detriment, or dismissed, for a reason connected to the employer's auto-enrolment duties. For example, employees must not be penalised for refusing to opt out of the pension scheme. Job applicants will also be protected from recruitment practices that favour candidates who agree to opt out. The employers' duties in relation to employee protection and prohibited recruitment practices have applied to all employers since July 2012.