The number of small businesses missing their staging date is rising, don't make the same mistake

By Sam Thomas | 14th April 2016 | 2 min read

Back in February, The Pensions Regulator revealed that the number of non-compliance penalties handed over had spiked between October and December 2015, when smaller businesses were due to stage. We wrote about how this would suggest that smaller companies are not preparing properly for auto enrolment, and are now receiving financial penalties because of this.

Well, it seems that this worrying trend is continuing. The latest research from NOW: Pensions showing that 21% of small businesses are completing their duties in preparation for auto enrolment very close to their staging date. Remember, The Pensions Regulator’s official advice is to begin preparations for auto enrolment at least 12 months in advance, to give your business the best chance of fitting everything you will need to do to prepare in.

NOW: Pensions also reported that an astonishing 21% of small businesses were contacting them after their staging date had actually passed. This figure has risen from 12% in Q4 2015 and highlights a lack of preparation for the workplace pension reforms.

The Pensions Regulator recently visited IRIS and spoke about their enforcement powers; and reiterating that they prefer to use them simply as a last resort. They state that any business who is in danger of missing their staging date should contact them as soon as possible so that they can work with the business to bring them up-to-speed.

The Pensions Regulator has the following enforcement powers in cases of auto enrolment non-compliance:

  • Compliance notices to bring attention to the fact a business is in danger of missing their staging date
  • An on-the-spot fine of £400
  • A daily fine of between £50 and £10,000 for each day of non-compliance. The amount dependant on number of employees
  • Court action in severe cases and the power to issue Warrants

You must remember, auto enrolment is mandatory for all UK businesses, regardless of size or turnover. Each employee must be assessed for auto enrolment eligibility each time they are paid.

Auto enrolment eligibility requirements include being aged between 22 and the State Pension Age, earning over £10,000 per annum, and working primarily in the UK.

If you are unsure what to do about auto enrolment, please contact The Pensions Regulator to discuss what to do and visit our Auto Enrolment Insight Page for the key information and advice.

Additionally, be sure to check out of free guides on our website, we write regular free guides which cover auto enrolment, and April’s guide is no different. Titled ‘7 tips for auto enrolment from companies who have already staged’, the guide gives invaluable advice from larger businesses who have passed their staging date and are now fully compliant with the reforms. The guide is perfect is your business is yet to stage for auto enrolment, be sure to download your copy today.

You can download the free 13-page guide by using the button below.

Download my free 13-page guide