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Auto-enrolment thresholds 2018-19

Every year, legislation requires a review of the Earnings Trigger and Qualifying Earnings Band (QEB) thresholds that will apply in the following tax year.  

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This review is governed by three principles:

  1. To set levels that ensure the right people are brought into pension saving by reviewing the Earnings Trigger.
  1. To ensure an appropriate portion of earnings are taken into consideration for calculating contributions by establishing the QEBs.
  1. To balance the benefits to workers against the cost to employers whilst maintaining simplicity.

On 18 December 2017, the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) produced their supporting analysis that contained conclusions and proposals for the 2018-19 tax year. These are:

  • The Earnings Trigger should be maintained at £10,000.
  • The QEBs should remain linked with the National Insurance thresholds (Lower and Upper Earnings Limit).

Therefore, the DWP proposes the following annual figures (with the 2017-18 rates detailed as well for comparison):




QEB Lower Limit

£5,876 (LEL)

£6,032 (LEL)

QEB Upper Limit

£45,000 (UEL)

£46,350 (UEL)

Earnings Trigger



For common Pay Reference Periods, this translates as follows:

Auto-enrolment thresholds 2018-19


2 Weekly

4 Weekly



6 Monthly

QEB Lower Limit (LEL)







QEB Upper Limit (UEL)







Earnings Trigger







Look out for this to be set in legislation via the Automatic Enrolment (Earnings Trigger and Qualifying Earnings Band) Order 2018 in Great Britain and the Automatic Enrolment (Earnings Trigger and Qualifying Earnings Band) Order (Northern Ireland) 2018 in Northern Ireland.

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