What is the effect on my workforce?

You'll need to assess your workforce to determine whether they're treated as a 'worker'.

The term 'worker' can also include contractors and agency workers.

There are three different categories of worker, determined by their age and how much they earn and there are different requirements for each.

  • Eligible jobholders - must be automatically enrolled into an auto enrolment scheme
  • Non-eligible jobholders - have the right to opt-in to an auto enrolment scheme
  • Entitled workers - have the right to join a pension scheme

The table below shows you how to identify each type of worker:

Types of workers diagram

1These figures are for the 2016/17 tax year.

Assessment of workers

The assessment of workers is first required:

  • on the staging date
  • whenever a new worker joins after the staging date
  • on a worker's 16th birthday after the staging date, and
  • on a worker's 22nd birthday after the staging date.

The assessment of workers is also required:

  • on the date you receive an opt-in or joining notice, and
  • on a regular basis for non-eligible-jobholders and entitled workers.

Exclusions to the employer duties

People who are treated as workers

The following people are treated as workers but are not covered by the employer duties:

  • those who do not work or ordinarily work in the UK
  • those under 16, and
  • those aged 75 and over.

People who are not treated as workers

The following people are not treated as workers so the employer duties don't apply to them:

  • the self employed
  • members of the armed forces, and
  • directors of companies unless they have a contract of employment to work for that company and there is anyone else employed by the company under a contract of employment.


You can choose to operate a waiting period of up to three months. This means you can postpone the assessment of worker type until the end of the waiting period.

If you choose to use postponement you must tell the worker that:

  • a waiting period applies
  • they have the right to opt-in/join before the end of the waiting period.

You must provide this information within six weeks and a day of the worker's first day of employment. If you receive an opt-in or joining notice during the three month waiting period, you must assess the worker on the day you receive it.

Last updated: 24 Nov 2016

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