The draft Automatic Enrolment (Earnings Trigger and Qualifying Earnings Band) Order 2019 has now been published. As expected, it freezes the earnings trigger, which determines when an eligible worker is entitled to be automatically enrolled into a qualifying workplace pension scheme, at £10,000 from 6 April 2019. It also continues to align the qualifying earnings band with National Insurance Contributions from 6 April 2019, so the lower limit of the band will increase from £6,032 to £6,136 and the upper limit will increase from £46,350 to £50,000. The qualifying earnings band is used to calculate minimum contribution levels for money purchase schemes.
In addition, the minimum total contribution to a workplace pension scheme will increase from 5% to 8% of qualifying earnings from 6 April 2019. At least 3% of this (up from 2%) must come from the employer. The remaining contribution must come from the worker, so if the employer pays the minimum 3%, the worker’s minimum contribution will be 5% of qualifying earnings (up from 3%).