Auto enrolment - certifying your scheme

What does the certificate generated through the employer dashboard cover?

The certificate covers the Royal London scheme, as shown in the Scheme/category details section on the certificate. If you're using different minimum contribution sets to certify different groups of your workforce, we'll have given you a separate template certificate for each group. A certificate is not needed for any part of your scheme that requires contributions at or above the minimum levels in the relevant quality requirements of the applicable enrolment legislation and regulations.

We generated new certificates for existing schemes as at 6 April 2018. This was as a result of the first change in the minimum auto enrolment contribution amounts that applied from that date. These new certificates covered the subsequent increase in minimum contributions from 6 April 2019.

You're responsible for ensuring the certificate is completed correctly and stored safely. If you'd like to use the template certificate we've provided, you need to:

  • Check all the information we've given is correct. This information is based on the contribution rates in your scheme documentation. Let us know immediately if there are any issues with the information provided. 
  • For existing schemes where we generated new certificates effective from 6 April 2018, you will have needed to complete the relevant questions in the Certificate details for category section of your new certificate as the expiry date of your previous certificate will have been brought forward as a result of the first change in the minimum auto enrolment contribution amounts at that date.                                
  • If you've chosen Set 2 you must check that the total pensionable earnings of all relevant jobholders covered by the certification (taken in aggregate) are at least 85% of their total earnings.
  • If you've excluded any jobholders choosing to pay contributions below the qualifying level, you'll need to provide a list of these jobholders in the Minimum contribution details table. You can find a blank certificate in the Support material section above if you want to use that.
  • Complete and sign the certificate within one month of the effective date shown in the Certificate details for category section.
  • Store the signed certificate and data/evidence relating to the certificate for at least six years after it expires. In other words, six years from the end of the certification period shown in the Certificate details for category section. You must provide a copy of your certificate to a relevant jobholder, trade union or The Pensions Regulator if requested.
  • While your certificate is in force, provided that it was given on reasonable grounds, you won't need to reconcile any shortfalls in your scheme contributions that arise during the certification period. However, it would be good practice to monitor the situation; especially where circumstances change. If at the end of the certification period the minimum quality requirements have not been met, you'll need to make any necessary improvements going forward before renewing your certificate, or certify using a different minimum contribution set.
  • Consider in advance of the expiry of your certificate how you're going to meet the minimum quality requirements. If you're planning to renew your certificate, make sure this is completed within a month of the certificate's expiry date. We'll provide an updated certificate at the end of your certification period based on the contribution rates in the scheme documentation at that time.

The standard minimum contribution for auto enrolment is based on qualifying earnings. This can be difficult for employers to administer. Certification allows employers to calculate contributions on an alternative basis and has been designed to cater for employers who have good quality money purchase schemes where either:

  • the scheme is liable to satisfy one of three minimum contribution sets outlined in the alternative quality requirements, or
  • the scheme doesn't necessarily satisfy the standard ‘qualifying earnings' basis in all circumstances. However, you're satisfied that the contributions under the scheme will be as good as, or better than, the minimum contributions for all relevant jobholders.

If you're using certification for another scheme, you'll need to complete a certificate for that scheme too.  You can find a blank certificate in the Support material section above to help with this.

Only you, the employer, or someone you've authorised can sign your certificate. While you'll have your own authorisation process, examples of people you can authorise to sign your certificate include:

  • in a limited company, a director or officer of the company.
  • in a partnership, a senior partner.
  • for a sole trader, the business owner.
  • for a public sector organisation, the chief executive.

In a multi-employer scheme one employer may be able to certify on behalf of the other employers in relation to their respective jobholders, if that employer is authorised to give a certificate by the relevant employers.

If, during this period, a significant change in circumstances occurs meaning the scheme can no longer satisfy the certification requirements, you should alter the expiry date of your certificate. This should be so that your certificate expires on the day after the day on which the change takes place.

It must also be before the last day of a period of 18 months starting from the effective date of your certificate. You can't retrospectively cancel a certificate. You'll need to change the expiry date of your certificate if there's a significant change in circumstances.

Examples of significant changes could be:

  • corporate transactions such as mergers, acquisitions and transfers under the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Act (TUPE).
  • changes to the scheme's benefit structure.
  • changes to the contribution rate.
  • changes to pay and reward structure.
  • the winding up of a scheme.

We generated new certificates for existing schemes effective from 6 April 2018.  This was as a result of the first change in the minimum auto enrolment contribution levels. These new certificates covered the subsequent increase in minimum contributions from 6 April 2019.

No. We've provided this template certificate to help with the process but it remains your responsibility to ensure the certification requirements are met. This template is based on our current understanding of the relevant legislation and regulations (including drafts) which could change in the future.

What if I have further questions?

If you need further advice on certifying your scheme, you should speak to your adviser.

The Royal London Mutual Insurance Society Limited is authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and the Prudential Regulation Authority. Registered in England and Wales number 99064. Registered office: 55 Gracechurch Street, London EC3V 0RL.