Regulator reveals increase in auto-enrolment fines

A quarterly bulletin published by the Pensions Regulator has revealed that the number of fixed penalty notices has increased in 2015, with 198 penalties for failing to comply with workplace pensions duties handed down in the first three months of the year.

A total of 166 employers were fined for failing to comply with their workplace pensions duties in the last three months of 2014, with a total of 367 having now been issued with a fixed penalty for failing to hit deadlines or comply with employee communication requirements.

Most recently, there were also 213 compliance notices handed out over period from January to March this year. In total there have been 1,529 made by the regulator.

The first four escalating penalty notices were also handed out over the first quarter. These can be between £50 and £10,000 per day for failure to comply with a statutory notice.

Elsewhere, information notice hand-outs, whereby the Pensions Regulator can demand information under section 72 of the Pensions Act 2004 were at a high, at 15, against a figure of 31 since the regulator began this activity.

David White, managing director of Creative Auto-Enrolment said:

It’s no surprise to see that penalty notices from the Pensions Regulator have once again increased over the last quarter.

In this period we’ve seen an increase of 20% when it comes to fixed penalty notices – and over the last six months that figure is even bigger, with the number of notices rocketing from just three to 367.

Mr White added that he fully expects this to continue as the UK’s 1.2m small and medium sized businesses stage over the next three years.

What is particularly interesting is the first ever escalating penalty notices being given out to employers. Despite support from TPR and previous fines, they have still failed to comply with the legislation – proof that ignoring auto enrolment simply isn’t an option, even though close to one in ten businesses plan to do this according to our data.

TPR have shown that they have teeth and will bite, and with all the main political parties supporting the legislation, there is no prospect of it disappearing any time soon. These figures once again prove that businesses are struggling and that it’s essential for employers and their advisers to find support to help them through the process.

A spokesperson for the Pensions Regulator said:

The number of times we have used our powers in this quarter has decreased compared to the previous quarter in line with the employer staging profile.

The larger numbers in the previous bulletin relate to around 27,000 employers who staged between April and September 2014 compared to around 4,500 who staged between October 2014 and March 2015, and relate to the timing on when they complete the AE process. The staging profile is published on our website.

Petaurum Solutions’ Comment

Complying with complex Auto Enrolment obligations can be a daunting prospect for many small and micro-sized business.  Choosing a cost effective, long-term implementation solution is critical for these businesses to ensure they do not become swamped with the processing requirements and responsibilities that Auto Enrolment can bring.  Therefore, for businesses considering their solution, focus should not only be on the pension scheme, but also on how it will be administered, methods to communicate, impacts on systems and data collection processes along with any HR and Legal changes may you need to make.

Our Defaqto 5* quality Carey Master Trust Pension Scheme, 
comes with best in class assessment and communication software and is part of our SME specific, competitively priced end-to-end solution that will take care of the above, leaving you free to manage your business safe in the knowledge that your Auto Enrolment obligations are in professional hands.  Want to know more?  Then feel free to download our info pack here, or contact us to secure your PAE future.

This information is intended as a general overview and discussion of the subjects dealt with. The information provided here was accurate as of the day it was posted; however, the law may have changed since that date. This information is not intended to be, and should not be used as, a substitute for taking legal, HR or benefits advice in any specific situation. Petaurum Solutions is not responsible for any actions taken or not taken on the basis of this information. Please refer to the full terms and conditions on our website.

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