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Pensions (No. 2) Act (Northern Ireland) 2008

Section 9: Workers without qualifying earnings

There may be people who do not qualify for automatic enrolment and who are not participating in workplace saving. Although they ordinarily work in Northern Ireland and are aged at least 16 and under 75 (two of the three qualifying conditions for a jobholder in section 1) they do not have qualifying earnings, as defined in section 13.

Section 9 allows workers without qualifying earnings to require their employer to make arrangements to enrol them into a pension scheme by giving notice. The worker may give notice to opt in under this section more than once in a 12 month period, although the employer is only obliged to act on one request in a 12 month period. This doesn’t prohibit the employer allowing workers to join the scheme at other times by agreement. An employer is not obliged to make any matching contribution but may choose to do so.

The enrolment process, the details of the notice required and the date from which membership must be effected are to be prescribed in regulations (subsection (3)).

For the purposes of this section a pension scheme may be either an occupational pension scheme, or a personal pension scheme registered under the Finance Act 2004. Also, a personal pension scheme must have direct payment arrangements, within the meaning of section 107A of the Pension Schemes (Northern Ireland) Act 1993, between the worker and the employer. “Direct payment arrangements” are either where the employer makes a contribution and sends it to the worker’s scheme or where the employer deducts contributions from the worker’s earnings and forwards these to the worker’s scheme on behalf of the worker.

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Text created by the Northern Ireland Assembly department responsible for the subject matter of the Act to explain what the Act sets out to achieve and to make the Act accessible to readers who are not legally qualified. Explanatory Notes accompany all Acts of the Northern Ireland Assembly.

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