p16 is a key regulator of cellular senescence, yet the drivers of this stable state of proliferative arrest are not well understood. Here, we identify 22 senescence-associated microRNAs (SA-miRNAs) in normal human mammary epithelial cells. We show that SA-miRNAs-26b, 181a, 210 and 424 function in concert to directly repress expression of Polycomb group (PcG) proteins CBX7, embryonic ectoderm development (EED), enhancer of zeste homologue 2 (EZH2) and suppressor of zeste 12 homologue (Suz12), thereby activating p16. We demonstrate the existence of a tight positive feedback loop in which SA-miRNAs activate and re-enforce the expression of other SA-miRNA members. In contrast, PcG members restrain senescence by epigenetically repressing the expression of these SA-miRNAs. Importantly, loss of p16 leads to repression of SA-miRNA expression, intimately coupling this effector of senescence to the SA-miRNA/PcG self-regulatory loop. Taken together, our findings illuminate an important regulatory axis that underpins the transition from proliferation to cellular senescence.