One in 10 workers missing out on £250,000 free cash for their pension

More than one million UK workers are missing out on £250,000 for the pension from the Government and their employer.

Although entitled to the bumper boost to their coffers, one in 10 workers aren't receiving it because they've opted out of their workplace pension scheme.

Others haven't been offered the chance to join because they work either low-paid jobs or multiple jobs that, individually, don't hit the auto-enrolment level.

Anyone aged over 22 and earning more than £10,000 is automatically enrolled in a workplace pension scheme to help them save for retirement.

But they can opt out if they wish to.

The minimum total contribution is 8% but this is split between the employee, employer and tax relief.

A minimum of 3% is paid by your employer and basic rate taxpayers receive 1% contribution via tax relief.

How much workplace pension contributions are worth

With the average salary at £34,963 according to the Office for National Statistics, a typical worker would receive £1,398.52 in contributions from their employer and the Government. In short, that's nearly £1,400 a year in free cash.

If you worked for 35 years - and many work for much longer - that adds up to £48,948.20.

And it doesn't stop there, because private pension pots are invested to bring a return, meaning the money should grow every year.

With a low growth pot giving an average 2% interest, your £48,948.20 would grow to £97,891 by the time you hit retirement.

With an average growth of 5%, you'd get £269,998 for retirement.

And if the markets went in your favour and you got 8% returns, that cash would be worth £723,713 on retirement, according to The Sun.

The UK retirement age is currently 67 and is likely to rise to 68, so the reality is you could earn much more from your employer and the Government because you’ll be working more than 35 years.

Some employers also contribute more than the minimum 3% and often match contributions up to a certain amount. For example if you contributed 8% they would add 8% too.

With 11 million savers auto-enrolled since the scheme began in 2012, at one in 10 opting out, that means more than one million people are missing out on free cash.

Another estimated 106,000 workers have earnings from more than one job, according to Citizens Advice. And 70% of those are women.

Employees are still entitled to ask to join a workplace pension scheme if they earn between £6,240 and £10,000 a year. Anything less and your employer does not have to contribute, but you can still benefit from the Government's tax relief.

How to opt in to a workplace pension

If you've previously opted out of a workplace pension you will be re-enrolled automatically three years after you were first enrolled.

You can apply to be re-enrolled earlier. An employer does not have to accept you back into the workplace pension scheme if you've opted in and then out in the past 12 months. But they may wish to accept you regardless.

If you earn between £6,240 and £10,000 a year you can also apply to opt in to a workplace pension and your employer will contribute to your pension too.

If you earn less than £6,240 a year (or £520 a month, £120 a week or £480 over four weeks), your employer does not have to contribute to your pension, although some do. You can still ask to have pension payments deducted and will benefit from Government tax relief.

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Helen Barnett

Helen is a journalist, editor and copywriter with 15 years' experience writing across print and digital publications. She previously edited the Daily Express website and has won awards as a reporter. Read more here.