UK - The National Association of Pension Funds (NAPF) has called on the UK government to introduce a waiting period for auto-enrolment as to not damage already existing employer pension schemes.

In its submission to the Department of Work & Pensions' (DWP) review of auto-enrolment and the National Employment Savings Trust (NEST), the organisation warned that forcing an employee to join as soon as he joined a company was "overly restrictive".

Richard Wilson, a senior policy advisor and author of the NAPF's submission, said allowing for a waiting period was a more sensible approach.

He said immediate enrolment would create a "quagmire of problems", which had been brought to the organisation's attention over the course of several working groups.

"Having a six-month waiting period will help you because then [employers] won't have to use NEST because you don't want to auto-enrol everyone into your main scheme if they don't stay," Wilson said.

He said having a waiting period and clearly addressing the issue of qualifying earnings would allow employers to keep using good pension schemes as their main schemes.

"There is no evidence waiting periods increase the incidence of employee opt-outs," Wilson added in the NAPF's submission.

The document further argued that employees should be given the freedom to agree their own staging dates, possibly in line with their payroll cycles, to reduce pressure.

However, Wilson did caution about the effects of levelling-down, saying there was a risk employers would auto-enrol workers into the basic scheme.

"The temptation is then to put more and more people into the basic scheme and create a two-tier workforce," he said.

"So the risks of it happening are real."

The NAPF also disagreed with proposals, supported by the Association of British Insurers, that the current threshold of around £5,000 should be increased to £10,000.

Wilson said increasing the enrolment threshold to that high a rate would result in the exclusion of many.

The submission further made the case by noting such a move would lead to 17% of the workforce, and more than a quarter of female employees, no longer being auto-enrolled.