Private pensions

We are responsible for the formulation and development of policy and legislation on private pensions in Northern Ireland.

Workplace, personal and stakeholder pensions

In general, Northern Ireland’s pensions policy and legislation operates in line with corresponding pension provision in Great Britain. In effect, there is a single system of pensions across the UK.  Additionally, the pensions regulatory regime, for example, the Pensions Regulator, and the Pensions Ombudsman and the Pension Protection Fund operate UK wide.

Automatic enrolment 

Starting with the largest employers first, since October 2012 employers are required to automatically enrol eligible workers into a qualifying pension scheme, if they are not already in one.

Both workers and employers pay into the pension, and the Government also contributes in the form of tax relief.

Medium and small employers will follow in stages over the next several years.

Automatic enrolment helps to address the issues that prevent people from saving into a pension scheme, such as:

  • pensions saving being complicated and confusing
  • people simply not getting around to it
  • a lack of suitable pension products being available for people on low to moderate incomes
  • lack of employer pension provision, particularly in smaller firms

The Pensions Regulator writes to all employers in advance of their automatic enrolment date to inform them of when they need to take action and what they need to do to comply.

Contracting-out is ending

Important information

The Pensions Act 2014 and the Pensions Act (Northern Ireland) 2015 introduce a new State Pension in Great Britain and Northern Ireland for people reaching State Pension age on or after 6 April 2016. The new scheme will replace the existing basic and additional State Pension and end contracting-out and the National Insurance rebate. To assist employers and employees, fact sheets and overviews in relation to the ending of contracting-out have been prepared by the Department for Work and Pensions and HM Revenue and Customs. A link to the Gov.UK site is provided below. References in the guidance to the Pensions Act 2014 should be taken as including references to the Pensions Act (Northern Ireland) 2015. 

More information:

Workplace pension information line

Telephone: 0845 600 1268
Text phone: 0845 850 0363
Opening hours: Monday to Friday 8.00 am to 6.00 pm

Useful links

For workers:

For employers:

The Money Advice Service website also provides guidance on:

There is also extensive information on the gov.uk website:


Related to Private pensions

Access to information

How to request information from the Department for Communities including Freedom of Information (FOI) and the use of our Publication Scheme.

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