SMEs Warned By Head Of Pensions Regulator Over Auto-Enrolment

New Chairman Says Use Of Fixed And Escalating Powers Will Increase


David Shirt, Press Officer | 0161 838 3094

The Chairman of The Pensions Regulator (TPR) has today said that a lack of preparation amongst SMEs when it comes to Auto-Enrolment is unacceptable and warned that those that fail to comply will be punished. 

Speaking today at the National Association of Pension Funds annual conference, TPR Chairman Mark Boyle warned that as the number of employers that stage for Auto-Enrolment rises significantly, so too will its use of statutory powers such as compliance notices, fixed and escalating penalties.

He said: “As we deal with smaller employers, we will see more who, despite our message to prepare early, leave it too late or do not comply at all.
“This type of non-compliance is not acceptable. That’s why we have been given these powers and we will use them, where appropriate.”

Mr Boyle did tell the conference what TPR is doing to help small and micro employers through the automatic enrolment staging process, and highlighted how the regulator will support employers with relevant tools as part of the organisation’s educate and enable agenda.

Nigel Bolton, Pensions Partner at national law firm Irwin Mitchell, said:

Expert Opinion
This is a stark warning to those small and micro businesses which have not taken action in relation to auto-enrolment. We are concerned about future compliance levels for auto-enrolment, particularly as many do not have the back office systems to cope. The ongoing requirements of auto enrolment are considerable and I’d call on those SMEs that haven’t taken action so far, to do so immediately.”
Nigel Bolton, Partner

Currently auto-enrolment regulations  mean that all UK employers must automatically place certain members of their workforce into a qualifying pension arrangement. All employers must contribute to that pension arrangement and must monitor and keep records of their workforce’s membership of the scheme. The current threshold for enrolling an employee stands at £10,000, however the government yesterday announced that it was consulting on whether this link should be removed.