21 May 2015 #Employment
Since 1 January 2015, the Pensions Regulator has used its powers for the first time to issue “escalating penalty notices”. According to the Pensions Regulator’s quarterly bulletin on auto-enrolment compliance and enforcement, four such notices were issued against employers in the period up to 31 March 2015. These penalty notices are issued in the event that an employer has failed to comply with statutory notices already served on it, such as a compliance notice, an information notice or an unpaid contributions notice. Escalating penalty notices carry a daily fine of between £50 and £10,000, depending on the size of the employer in question.
The Pensions Regulator says that more than 1.3 million employers are due to comply with their new workplace pensions obligations over the next three years, so it likely that it will make increased use of its enforcement powers.
The number of enforcement notices issued in the period 1 January to 31 March 2015 has shown and increased upward trend, as more employers come into scope of auto-enrolment. Of the 367 fixed penalty notices issued to date, 54% of them were issued in this latest period, in addition to the first escalating penalty notices.
There is some relief for employers however, with new regulations that came into force in early April that are designed to ease some of the administrative burden on employers.
The Pensions Regulator makes its point clearly in its quarterly bulletin, “While automatic enrolment may be automatic for an employer’s staff, it is not automatic for the employer. We recommend that employers start preparing for their automatic enrolment duties 12 months ahead of their staging date.”
If you would like a free impact assessment and initial consultation on how auto-enrolment will affect you and what your options are, please contact me by phone or e-mail – details below.