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It’s never too early to begin preparing for your staging date, as the sooner you begin the process, the more time you have to adjust your current processes. You can also plan accordingly for the increase in costs for pension contributions. You don’t have to wait until your staging date to set up the pension.
However, if you are wanting to leave sufficient time to make the necessary changes to existing processes, it is important to begin planning at least six months prior to your staging date (the date you must comply with the legislation). At this point you should have budgeted for the auto enrolment costs and sought the relevant support from a pensions professional to assist you in understanding your duties.
In reality, many employers leave their preparation to the last minute. This can make the whole process much more stressful for the employer and potentially more costly as it leaves no time to source the best terms for both a pension provider and the relevant auto enrolment support. Taking into consideration, the large number of employers staging this year, there will also likely be capacity issues from the pension providers and also the professional advisers – so we would suggest to get your plans in place early, as you don’t want to incur a penalty from the Pensions Regulator for non-compliance.