Staff whose place of work is not in the UK are excluded from the requirements of the auto-enrolment regulations. The regulations offer no clear definition of what 'ordinarily working in the UK' means. It is important to consider what location is stated in the contract as the employee’s main place of work, and how this contract operates in practice. Location is clearly the most obvious guide, however the key criterion is whether or not the member of staff's work location is temporary (this is not time-limited), please refer to the below for examples:
- A University employee usually based in Oxford who happens to be on a short trip abroad on their auto-enrolment Assessment Date is still considered as 'ordinarily working in UK', as long as the intention is to return to the UK.
- A University employee on a CMS contract who is working abroad and is expected at the end of their work overseas to return to the UK is likely to be considered as ordinarily working in the UK, however long their work overseas lasts. However, in such cases other factors may also need to be considered, for example: does the employee pay National Insurance contributions, what currency they are being paid in, and where their private residence is.
- A foreign national who is working in Oxford and for whom there is no clear expectation that they will leave the UK at the end of their work here is likely to be considered as 'ordinarily working in the UK'.
- Someone working at the same overseas office who has been locally engaged or who is expected to return to a country other than UK at the end of this work is considered as not 'ordinarily working in the UK'.
- Employees who are seconded to the UK from overseas, and remain to be primarily an employee of an external overseas employer, with an expectation to return to their normal country of work will not be considered as ‘ordinarily working in the UK’.
If there is any doubt, the balance of doubt should go in favour of treating the person as 'ordinarily working in the UK'. Marie Curie researchers, for example, are to be treated as working in the UK for auto-enrolment purposes.
The University's HR System, Core, monitors and assesses staff eligibility for auto-enrolment, and departments should therefore advise the payroll team if an individual is considered to be not normally working in the UK so that the payroll record can be updated.