The Pensions Regulator has released figures confirming that a total of 169 employers have now been fined for failing to comply with their workplace pensions obligations. while this should alert the clients of London Registrars’ business support services to the importance of tending to their own duties in this area, tens of thousands of businesses have nonetheless now complied with their automatic enrolment duties.
The figures were published in the regulator’s latest automatic enrolment compliance and enforcement bulletin, which detailed how often its statutory powers had been exercised. A steep rise is anticipated now that a large number of employers are coming close to the date when they must confirm their compliance with new workplace pensions duties, otherwise referred to as a declaration of compliance.
This has led to the regulator’s expectation that more employers will leave this confirmation process too late, or fail to comply at all, in the coming months – despite its message of the importance of early preparation. The last three months of last year saw a total of 166 Fixed Penalty Notices (£400 fines) issued.
Indeed, by the start of December 2014, around 30,000 medium-sized employers – those with approximately 62 to 149 workers – had reached their deadline to complete their declaration of compliance.
The bulletin also pointed out an increase in the number of issued compliance notices, to 1,139. Compliance notices advise an employer that they have contravened one or more of their employer duties and instructing them to remedy the situation if they are to avoid the risk of a fine or further action from the regulator.
Charles Counsell, Director of automatic enrolment at The Pensions Regulator, commented: “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.
“It appears some medium employers waited for a prompt from the regulator before completing their automatic enrolment obligations. Employers must complete all their duties including making their declaration of compliance to The Pensions Regulator.”
Research by the regulator indicates regret among the majority of employers completing the automatic enrolment process that they did not allow sufficient time.
It is recommended that users of the business support services from London Registrars begin gathering the information that they require for the completion of their declaration of compliance long before their deadline. This process is essential to ensure that their employees receive the pensions that they are legally entitled to.