Qualifying earnings are those received, within the relevant pay reference period (eg full calendar month) and upon which a worker is assessed for Automatic Enrolment into a Qualifying Workplace Pension Scheme (QWPS).

This includes the following:

  • Wage
  • Salary
  • Commission
  • Bonuses
  • Overtime
  • Statutory payments (such as sick, maternity, paternity and adoption)

It can possibly include car allowance where this is a perk of the job and not a necessity for the role.

As an absolute minimum, pension contributions would be based on qualifying earnings from £5,825 and under £42,385 per annum. This is known as banded earnings (the band is expected to move each year).

Employers can choose to pay more than this and so long as they are paying over qualifying earnings, can certify that their pension scheme is meeting the Regulatory minimums. This is called Certification. See Certification and Contribution Rates.