September marked a considerable rise in enforcement actions taken by the Pension Regulator against employers who failed to meet their automatic-enrolment obligations.
The powers available to the Regulator include the ability to carry out inspections, issue statutory notices, fixed penalties and escalating fines of up to £10,000 per day.
According to its recent quarterly bulletin, the Regulator has used its statutory powers in 177 cases; 166 of these being compliance notices and 3 being fixed fines of £400.
Charles Counsell, head of automatic enrolment at the Regulator, predicted that as small and micro-employers reach their staging date “we will see more who, despite [the Regulator’s] message to prepare early, leave it too late or do not comply at all.”
The Regulator has adopted an open approach as to how it will deal with automatic enrolment enforcement and, where employers fail to meet their obligations because of a misunderstanding as to their automatic enrolment obligations, compliance notices will be issued in the first instance as a means of “education” before financial penalties are levied.
It is important for employers who are approaching their staging date to take proactive steps to ensure that their workforce is enrolled on time.
For employers whose staging date is not imminent, they should ensure that appropriate enquiries are being made as to their obligations and what facilities they will need to put in place.
We have considerable expertise in dealing with auto-enrolment and we have developed an end to end solution for employers who have auto-enrolled or are approaching their staging date.
Please contact Kim for further information.
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