Millions of Brits could risk missing out on their pensions due to loophole

A pension loophole could mean millions of workers in the UK are missing out on savings, a study has claimed.

Since October 2012, employers have had to automatically enrol staff into the pension scheme to get them to start saving.

When putting money into the pot, bosses must contribute a minimum of 3% a month into an employee's pension.

This is on top of the 5% an employee contributes to a pension scheme from their wages before tax.

However, a new study has found around 2.5 million workers are missing out on employer top-ups.

According to NOW: Pensions, this is due to employers not earning enough to qualify for a workplace pension.

In order to be automatically enrolled onto the scheme, staff must earn a minimum of £10,000 a year from the same employer.

Anyone earning less has to ask to be put onto a scheme, but only those who pocket more than £6,240 will benefit from the top-ups.

It could affect "under-pensioned" groups, like single mums, divorced women, people with disabilities, carers and the self-employed.

Those who earn more than £10,000 a year but across multiple jobs are also excluded from auto-enrolment.

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The study found these groups are then reaching their retirement age with around 15% of the average UK pension wealth of £80,690.

They are not eligible for auto-enrolment because they may have a number of jobs or "non traditional" work patterns.

Essentially, this means a self-employed worker or carer could have several jobs at once but not earn enough to get a boost.

And many might have fewer opportunities for career development so will earn less.

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Joanne Segars, chair of trustees at NOW: Pensions, said: "Some groups in the UK face huge savings gaps and those individuals who most need to save for later life are often the people who are effectively locked out of the current auto enrolment system.

"We need to improve retirement incomes across the board – and that starts with creating a level playing field so that everyone has the same opportunity to save for later life."

Your employer only has to enrol you into a pension if you earn £10,000 or more, you can still ask if it's below that figure.

Meanwhile, the workplace isn't the only way to start a pension.

You can speak to a financial adviser about setting up a personal pension.

Currently, the flat rate state pension for anyone retiring since April 2016 is £175.20 per week.

To qualify you will need at least 10 years' worth of national insurance contributions.

For more information, visit the NOW: Pensions website.

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