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Four million women don’t qualify for auto-enrolment

A third of women employed in Britain are not eligible for inclusion in a State-backed plan that encourages working-age people to save into a pension.

Three years ago, on October 1, the Government launched auto-enrolment, so called because employers are legally bound to sign up workers to a pension scheme – without needing to ask their permission. Employees can opt out if they wish but only a minority have chosen to so far.


It is a gradual process that started with the biggest employers in 2012 and finishes with micro-businesses in early 2018. The scheme was backed by a high-profile ‘I’m in’ advertising campaign – with celebrity business figures including The Apprentice star Karren Brady and Theo Paphitis from Dragons’ Den.

More than five million workers are now saving into a work pension as a result and the ambition is to get more than nine million people saving for retirement, many for the first time.

Employers contribute to individual pension pots too and the Government adds tax relief, boosting the income a person will receive when they finally give up work.

But around four million women in employment – double the number of men – do not qualify for auto-enrolment because they earn insufficient money or fail to meet other criteria, according to a report just published by the Pensions Policy Institute, an educational charity, in conjunction with charity Age UK.

Many disabled and ethnic minority workers do not qualify either.Also a high percentage of staff working for small businesses are likely to be ineligible compared to those at big companies because of low earnings.

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