Auto Enrolment Non-Compliance Fines Have Risen Sharply
The Pension Regulator's latest set of quarterly figures shows an alarming rise in the number of non-compliance penalties given out to businesses.
Between July 1st and September 30th 2016, The Pensions Regulator issued 15,073 compliance notices, compared with 3,392 in the previous quarter, and 3,728 fixed penalty notices carrying fines of £400, up from only 861 in the previous quarter.
Additionally, The Pensions Regulator also issued 576 escalating penalty notices between July and September, up from 38 in the previous quarter. These carry a daily fine of between £50 and £10,000 per day, depending on the size of employer.
Since the start of the Workplace Pension Reforms in 2012, 741 escalating penalty notices have been issued in total, along with 26,040 compliance notices and 6,779 fixed penalty notices.
A spokesperson from The Pensions Regulator said: “Although the vast majority of employers are successful in meeting their duties, the minority of employers who fail to listen to warnings from us are subject to fines.”
The rise in fines would indicate a general lack of awareness and education with auto enrolment amongst smaller employers, so it's as important as ever to get up-to-speed on the legislation to avoid fines and penalties.
Breaking Down the Powers of Compliance
Compliance Warning Notices – these are notices given to businesses who The Pensions Regulator believe may not be fully prepared for auto enrolment once their staging date arrives.
Fixed Penalty Notices – whenever a business has failed to comply with a Compliance Warning Notice, the regulator can issue a standalone fine of £400 to the business.
Escalating Penalty Notices – these are daily fines which escalate for every day of non-compliance past their staging date. This is £50 per day for businesses with between 1-4 employees, £500 per day for those with between 5 to 49 employees; and even rises to £10,000 per day for larger employers.
Court Action – in the most serious of cases, The Pensions Regulator can take non-complying businesses to court to force them to work towards compliance as soon as possible.
What Can You Do?
The first thing you should do if you think your business may not make its staging date is to contact The Pensions Regulator, they can work with you to help prepare for automatic enrolment.
It’s important to get educated on the reforms, and IRIS have the perfect solution – the popular Bite-size Auto Enrolment for Small Businesses webinar.
Written with smaller employer’s in-mind, the webinar aims to give an easy-to-understand background and introduction of automatic enrolment legislation, and also helps you understand what is required to meet your compliance responsibilities.
The next session of Bite-size Intro to Auto Enrolment for Small Businesses is running on Tuesday 29th November at 10am, you can use the button below to register your place.
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