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Pensioners and Pension Scheme Participation

Are workers still entitled to pension scheme participation when they reach state pension age?

Currently, when a worker reaches their 66th birthday they are not auto-enrolled into a Workplace Pension Scheme, as they hit the State Pension Age. Yet, this does not mean they are excluded from a scheme where both the employer and employee continue to contribute. This legal right continues until the worker reaches their 74th birthday while remaining in work.

While there is no legal obligation to participate, or opt-out as per the auto-enrolment scheme, by failing to make this available and to offer a pension scheme to such workers could be deemed discriminatory on the grounds of Age, and a breach of Pensions laws.

Workers between State Pension age and 74

If you have reached State Pension age, you won’t be automatically enrolled into your employer’s workplace pension scheme.

Despite this, if you earn £6,396 or more a year (tax year 2022/23), then you have the right to opt in to the scheme. If you earn less than this amount, you won’t automatically be enrolled. However, your employer is obliged to give you access to a pension to save into if you ask them. While they must also arrange for you to join, they don’t have to contribute to it.

Why mention this? While outsourced payroll companies, and payroll software, tend to provide a great ‘value for money service’, we do find that most are process-driven and not employment law specialists. Therefore, workers who are 66 years old or over can raise a grievance and be entitled to claim unpaid contributions and interest dating back to their 66th birthday, or when they fell outside of the auto-enrolled workplace scheme.

If you need advice on this or any other HR or employment law matter then give us a call on 03456 122 144.