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Workplace Pensions

Question for Department for Work and Pensions

UIN HL5597, tabled on 20 February 2018

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they intend to encourage employers to continue contributing to an individual’s automatic enrolment pension fund during maternity leave and carer's leave.

Answered on

1 March 2018

Automatic enrolment is helping millions of people save into a workplace pension so that they can look forward to greater security in retirement. So far almost 9.3 million people have been automatically enrolled and more than 1 million employers have met their duties. By 2019/20 an estimated extra £20 billion a year is estimated to go into workplace pensions as a result of our reforms.

Automatic enrolment is focussed on people in paid employment and employers must make contributions into a workplace pension for an eligible worker during any periods of paid absence from work, consistent with the requirements under the Pensions Act 2008. This includes, for example, statutory maternity or paternity leave or such other periods of paid absence specified under an individual’s employment contract.

Workers on paid contractual leave can opt in to workplace pensions if their earnings fall below the threshold and if they do so they are entitled, under the Pensions Act 2008, to an employer contribution provided they have a sufficient level of earnings. Employers may also provide additional contractual entitlement to pension contributions for their workers in these situations.

As part of its role, the Pensions Regulator has made available detailed guidance to employers and their advisers to help employers fulfil their automatic enrolment duties.