Automatic enrolment - Pay reference period (PRP)

A pay reference period (PRP) is the period of time that earnings and contributions are measured for automatic enrolment purposes.

The length of a PRP is simply the time between pay dates, for example, weekly or monthly. However, as Sage One uses PRPs aligned to tax periods, when it starts and ends is determined by the tax calendar. This tax year, a tax week starts on a Monday and ends on a Sunday. Tax months run from the 6th of a month and ends on the 5th of the following month.

When you set up your pension scheme with your provider, you must advise them that your PRPs are aligned to tax periods. To help you determine your PRPs use the table below:

Pay frequency PRP Examples
Monthly Must align to the tax month. If your pay date is 25 November, this falls into tax month 8, so the PRP is 6 November to 5 December.
Weekly Must align to the tax week that the pay date falls into and starts on the first day of that tax week. If your pay date is 27 November, this falls into tax week 34, so the PRP is 23 November to 29 November.
Two weekly Must align to the two consecutive tax weeks that the pay date falls into. It starts on the first day of the first tax week and ends on the last day of the second tax week. If your pay date is 19 November, this falls into the tax period weeks 33 and 34, so the PRP is 16 November to 29 November.
Four weekly Must align to the four consecutive tax weeks that the pay date falls into. It starts on the first day of the first tax week and ends on the last day of the fourth tax week. If your pay date is 26 November, this falls into the tax period weeks 33 to 36, so the PRP is 16 November to 13 December.

You can download a useful copy of the 2017/2018 tax calendar. Alternatively, view The Pension Regulator’s PRP calendars.

If your PRP is aligned to tax months, it’s common for the first pension deduction to be higher than you expect. This is because all staging dates are on the first day of the month and a tax month runs from the 6th to the 5th of the following month. This means the first pension deduction is for one month and five days rather than just for one month.

If your pension provider is listed below you can find further information about PRPs. Or, if you’re unsure please consult with your pension provider.

NEST Pensions

NEST refer to a PRP as an earnings period.

For more information about how to check and set up the PRP to align to tax periods on your NEST portal, please visit their website.

NOW: Pensions

If you’re unsure that the PRPs in the NOW online portal are aligned to tax periods, you should contact NOW: Pensions at clientsupport@nowpensions.com or by calling 0330 100 33 99.

The People’s Pension

To check the PRP on the People’s Pension online portal, select File upload and check the expected file start and end date. If they’re not aligned to tax periods, you must contact The People’s Pension at support@bandce.co.uk. They can then correct this for you.

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