Pensions – Auto-Enrolment

Pensions – Auto-enrolment


Do you employ anybody?  A caretaker, cleaner, youth worker, centre manager?  If so you need to be aware that all employers will shortly be required to automatically enrol their workers into a Qualifying Workplace Pension Scheme (QWPS).  Auto-enrolment legislation applies to all workers aged between 16 and 74. 


Auto-enrolment is being staged, with larger employers first followed by smaller ones.  The dates are determined by the number of employees and the employer’s PAYE reference.  You can find out your date by using the interactive tools on the Pensions Regulator website:  It is very easy to use and you can also find out lots of other information about what you need to do to comply with the legislation.  All employers will be contacted by HMRC over a year before their auto-enrolment date with guidance on what to do. 


Please note that the legislation applies to all employers, including individuals who may employ a carer or nanny.  The requirements are different for workers with different levels of pay.  For example a church employing a cleaner for a few hours a week may find they only need to inform their worker of their right to join a pension scheme.  Others whose staff work for longer hours may have to set up a workplace pension scheme and automatically enrol all their staff.  The legal minimum payments into the scheme at present are 1% from the employee, 1% from the employer (which includes 0.2 tax relief).  You may consider a scheme such as the National Earnings Savings Trust (NEST) as a mechanism for this. ( Employees can opt out but employers are not allowed to help or encourage them to do so.


The URC’s staging date is September 2013 and it will be enrolling all its employees, including for this purpose all ministers and all Synod staff paid through the URC payroll (including East Midlands Synod staff), into one of its two pension schemes, the URC Ministers Pension Fund or the Pensions Trust United Reformed Church Final Salary Scheme. 


Local churches as employers  


Many local churches employ cleaners, caretakers, administrators, youth workers and others.  For many it’s a cleaner doing a few hours a week, others may have a number of members of staff.   However few the hours, make sure you comply with employment law.

  • give your employee a contract
  • pay at least the National Minimum Wage but preferably the National Living Wage as recommended by the URC (currently £7.45per hour)
  • register with HMRC as an employer
  • record pay, tax and NI, and give your employee a payslip – even if they do not pay tax and NI;  the PAYE Tools which can be downloaded from the HMRC website make this task very simple and accurate.
  • From 2nd April HMRC will be using Real Time Information so every time you pay your employee/s and record it, the information will go direct to HMRC
  • Find out details and your staging date for starting auto-enrolment in a pension scheme.  For more information read the article on the website ‘Pensions – Auto-enrolment’.

These are all legal requirements.


If your cleaner or other employee declares they are self-employed, HMRC requires you to check that they have other employment to justify this.

You pay a fee to lay preachers and ministers not in pastoral charge who lead worship at your church and to your organist or pianist.  They are responsible for declaring this income to HMRC for tax purposes.



The Pensions Regulator:


Helen Lidgett



Main Menu: