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What happens if my employer hasn’t paid my pension contributions?

Your employer is responsible for deducting your pension contributions from your monthly salary, and there are legal protections to ensure they do so by the 22nd day of the month after you were paid.

If this doesn’t happen, there are steps you can take to reclaim your payments.

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How do employer contributions work?

If you are enrolled in an employer-sponsored pension scheme, it is your employer’s responsibility to deduct pension contributions from your salary.

Your employer also has to make some minimum contributions to top up your fund. These contributions should be made each month at an agreed time.  

If you have noticed that your employer has stopped making contributions, this may be due to a few different reasons and could be an error.

However, it is a legal obligation for your employer to make these contributions, and if the situation isn’t corrected, there are steps you can take to ensure payments are continued.  

What if my employer stops paying pension contributions?

The first step you should take is to contact your employer directly.

This should be done in writing or by email, and you should try to find out why contributions have stopped and when you can expect them to start again.

Remember to keep a record of all correspondence as evidence, as you may need these records to help reclaim your money in the future.

If your employer hasn’t corrected the situation by an agreed date, there are services and organisations that can help.  

How can I contact The Pensions Regulator?

The Pensions Regulator is an independent organisation that ensures pension laws are being properly observed and adhered to.

If your pension contributions haven’t been paid after 90 days and your employer hasn’t already been reported, you can raise the issue with The Pensions Regulator. 

To raise your case, you will need: 

  • The name and address of your employer 

  • Your employer’s PAYE number (if they have one) 

  • The amount of money you believe is missing 

  • Any further evidence that you want to send to the regulator 

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How can I contact The Pensions Ombudsman?

The Pensions Ombudsman was set up to investigate complaints independently and can instruct employers to make pension payments where they have been delayed.

In some cases, the Ombudsman can also instruct employers to pay compensation where any distress and inconvenience has occurred.

The Ombudsman will review all complaints independently, with some cases being resolved quickly through its Early Resolution Service or through its more formal adjudication service. 

What if my employer has become insolvent?

If your employer has become insolvent without paying your contributions, you can still regain what you are owed by claiming through the National Insurance Fund.

Your payments can be reclaimed by your pensions administrator or official receiver.

They can help you regain any payments you are missing from the 12 previous months.

If you are missing payments beyond this 12-month period, you would become a creditor of the insolvent business. 

Many defined contribution schemes are protected by the Pension Protection Fund, which may help you reclaim your missing payments.  

Missing pension payments can affect your financial planning.

Although there are steps you can take to regain what you are owed, you may need to make some short-term adjustments to your retirement planning.

Whether you need assistance pursuing missing payments or need help planning for your retirement, speaking to an independent financial adviser can help.

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About the author
Our team of writers, who have decades of experience writing about personal finance, including investing, retirement and pensions, are here to help you find out what you must know about life’s biggest financial decisions.