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Employees are still in the dark about auto-enrolment with days to go

The biggest shake-up of the nation's pension system in generations is just around the corner, but half of UK workers don't know anything about it, according to a recent survey.

Auto-enrolment pensions are being introduced by Britain's largest companies on 1 October. This is the deadline for businesses employing more than 120,000 people to enrol employees in their workplace pension schemes. The changes will be taken up by other companies depending on size in the following years, with the smallest firms stepping into line in 2017.

Only 52 per cent of the 5,200 workers surveyed by Scottish Widows knew about auto-enrolment. Most of them (61 per cent) had found out through the media, while just 16 per cent had been made aware of the changes by their employer.

Automatic enrolment is intended to make it easier for employees to save for their retirement, particularly at a time when we are living longer but fewer people are taking out private pensions.

Most employees will automatically qualify for enrolment, but those who don't still have a right to join their employer's scheme if they request to do so. Those who qualify but don't want to join can opt out at any time, but will only get a refund within a certain period. After that, payments already made will remain in their pension pot.

It's important that employers raise awareness about auto-enrolment so that their staff know about and understand changes that will affect their income for many years after they retire.

Acas can offer advice on managing Retirement and runs training courses on New employment law and updates to help employers stay fully compliant.

Visit the Acas Training and Business Solutions area for more information.

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