Regulator Fines 166 Employers Over Auto-Enrolment Failings
The Pensions Regulator issued dozens of fines in the final three months of last year to businesses that failed to meet their workplace pension obligations.
In all there were 166 companies hit with £400 fines between September and the end of December last year for not enrolling staff onto appropriate pension schemes, the regulator has revealed.
The figure of 166 fine recipients for the quarter was up from just three in the previous three-month period as new deadlines relating to auto-enrolment and workplace pensions became effective throughout the UK.
The Pensions Regulator has been quick to point out that there were thousands of medium-sized businesses that did successfully transition and start enrolling staff onto appropriate workplace pensions last year. But the organisation is keen to see all employers be ready for the staging dates on which they become legally responsible for enrolling their staff onto pension schemes.
In addition to the fines that were issued to companies failing to meet their auto-enrolment obligations in the final quarter of last year, the Pensions Regulator also sent out 1,139 compliance notices informing employers that they will soon be fined unless they make changes to their pension processes.
An estimated 30,000 employers with workforces of between 62 and 149 workers were obliged to be ready for auto-enrolment between April and July 2014 and ought to have declared themselves completely complaint in that context by the end of December.
“My message to all employers is that failing to declare within five months of your staging date means you risk being fined, which is why we recommend you start your automatic enrolment planning and preparation 12 months before staging,” said Charles Counsell, the Pensions Regulator’s Director of automatic enrolment.
“With the mass market roll out of automatic enrolment to large numbers of small businesses in the coming months, we expect to see an increase in how often we need to use our powers,” he added.
The Pensions Regulator estimates that by the time all the relevant legislation comes into effect, there will be 1.3 million employers automatically enrolling close to 10 million people into workplace pensions around the UK.
Research by the regulator suggests that a majority of employers that have achieved compliance with auto-enrolment laws regret that they didn’t leave more time to prepare for the changes they needed to make.
Frank is Begbies Traynor's workplace pensions expert with 30 years' experience in the financial services industry. Frank has an outstanding track record working with some of the UK’s leading financial services and plays a key advisory role on matters relating to automatic enrolment. Frank is well known in the financial services circuit and has developed countless working relationships with professional introducer firms including accountants, solicitors and financial advisory companies.