Pension Auto Enrolment FAQs

What is Pension Auto-Enrolment?

The Government has introduced a new law that requires all employers to automatically enrol workers into a work place pension scheme which meets certain standards that are set by the Government.

Most NHS employees will be automatically enrolled into the NHS Pension Scheme (NHSPS) those employees not entitled to be in the NHSPS will be enrolled into an alternative qualifying pension scheme (AQPS) subject to age and earnings criteria.

Employers will also have a duty to automatically re-enrol workers into a qualifying pension scheme every three years

Does auto-enrolment apply to me?

Employers must enrol into a workplace pension scheme, workers who:

  • Are not already in a qualifying workplace pension scheme;
  • Are aged 22 or over;
  • Are under State Pension age;
  • Earn more than £10,000 per year in (2015-2016; and
  • Work or usually work in the UK.
If I qualify for auto-enrolment. When will I be enrolled in the Scheme?

Auto-enrolment is being introduced by all NHS employers over a five year period commencing March 2013.

 The NHS Employers staging dates for auto-enrolment are:.

  • Kent & Medway NHS Social Care Partnership Trust 01/07/2013 (Transitional Delay for current staff only applies and the auto-enrolment will be 01/10/2017).
  • Medway Community Healthcare CIC 01/09/2013
  • Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCG’s) 01/07/2017

All new joiners to the Trusts from the staging dates will be automatically enrolled into the NHSPS or AQPS if they meet the criteria as above at 2.

If you wish to join NHSPS at any time other than the auto-enrolment dates please write a letter requesting to join the NHSPension Scheme and forward to Payroll to action. If you wish to terminate your contract with the NHS PS you will be required to complete form SD502 by following this link. The completed form must be forwarded to Payroll

What if I don’t qualify for auto enrolment?

If you don’t qualify for auto-enrolment then your employer will not automatically enrol you in a work place pension scheme.

You may still be able to join a pension scheme if you wish.

If you qualify for auto-enrolment at a later date, (for example if you reach age 22 or you start to earn more) then your employer will automatically enrol you in a qualifying pension scheme at that time

I already pay into the NHS Pension Scheme. Will auto enrolment affect me?

If you are already paying into the NHSPS then you should not be affected by auto enrolment.

I already pay into a Personal Pension Scheme. Will auto  enrolment affect me?

Your employer will still need to assess you for auto enrolment and if you meet the criteria you will be enrolled into a work place pension scheme.

Can I choose not to be auto-enrolled into a pension scheme and do I have a choice about the scheme I am enrolled in?

No. Your employer is required by law to automatically enrol their employees who qualify for a work place pension scheme in to the default pension scheme, which is the NHS Pension Scheme (NHSPS) if they are not eligible to join this scheme and are eligible to join the

alternative qualifying pension scheme (AQPS) they will be enrolled in the alternative scheme.

How much does the NHS Pensions Scheme cost?

Employee contributions vary according to how much they earn.

More information can be found on NHS Pensions website at:

In addition to the employees’ contribution, the employer pays in a further 14% into the scheme on behalf of the employee

How will I know when I am going to be enrolled in the NHS Pension Scheme or another scheme?

Your employer will notify you in advance to confirm your enrolment date along with details of the scheme into which you will be enrolled

If I opt out will my employer automatically re-enrol me in the future?

Employers will continue to monitor the pension status of their employees and they are required to follow the auto enrolment exercise every three years.

I am opting out of the NHS Pension Scheme – will I get my contributions back and who will pay my NHS Pension refund?

If you leave the scheme and have less than 2 years qualifying membership in total then a refund of contributions, less tax and National Insurance is possible.

Either your employer or NHS Pensions may pay a refund – this depends on how soon you opt out of the Scheme after enrolment.  

How do I claim a refund from NHS Pensions if my contributions cannot be refunded by my Employer?

How do I claim a refund from NHS Pensions if my contributions cannot be refunded by my Employer?

If you have less than 2 years qualifying NHS Pension membership then please download the refund application form RF12 from this link and return the completed form to Payroll

I have fixed or Enhanced Protection. Will I be assessed for auto enrolment?

Yes if you have previously opted out of the NHSPS for any reason then you must be assessed under automatic enrolment rules.

 To comply with HMRC rules, employees with enhanced or fixed protection may wish to avoid accruing benefits in the NHS Pension Scheme in order to retain their protection and may want to opt out again having taken independent financial advice.

 If you do wish to opt out , you must follow the normal opt out procedure and complete another Application to leave the NHS Pension Scheme (SD502).