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Small firms gear up for auto-enrolment

Small businesses employing 40-49 workers will begin complying with their auto-enrolment duties from 1 August.

The dates when businesses begin complying with auto-enrolment are known as staging dates. From this date employers are required to have enrolled employees onto a workplace pension scheme, written to staff members and signed the declaration of compliance.

The staging dates over the next 3 months are as follows:

  • 1 August: firms with 40-49 workers
  • 1 September: businesses with less than 30 employees whose employer PAYE reference number ends in BY
  • 1 October: firms employing 30-39 employees.

The staging process for small and micro firms will last until April 2017. For businesses employing less than 30 employees, staging dates will depend on the last 2 characters of employers’ PAYE reference number.

Figures from the Pensions Regulator show that around 769,000 small and micro businesses will pass their staging dates by April 2017.

John Allan, national chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses, said that auto-enrolment will present “major challenges” for small businesses:

“Awareness of the impending changes has picked up, but many have still yet to put into place plans to meet their duties.”

We can help you prepare for auto-enrolment, call our Manchester accounting team on 0161 832 4451 or email us on