02 Sep 2013

Auto Enrolment: More Reasons to Act Now

Auto Enrolment: More Reasons to Act Now

Corporate Benefits Director Peter Mutch looks at some of the findings from the recent review from The Pensions Regulator (TPR) to see what we can learn from these.

Our Corporate Benefits Director Peter Mutch looks at some of the findings from the recent review from The Pensions Regulator (TPR) to see what we can learn from these.

Background

This commentary and analysis report is based on data gathered from employers with staging dates between July 2012 (three employers voluntarily started auto enrolment on that date) and March 2013. TPR intends to publish future reports on an annual basis to coincide with the financial year (April to March).

Key statistics

  • Awareness of the key features of auto enrolment has increased amongst employers from Spring 2011 to Autumn 2012. Awareness is lower among small employers (between 5 and 49 employees) and micro employers (fewer than 5 employees).
  • TPR issued 32,000 letters to employers with staging dates between January 2013 and September 2014. They will currently continue to write to employers 18 months before their staging date although may adjust this if necessary.
  • 83 employers completed their registration process between October 2012 and March 2013. Of those, 54 were private sector employers.
  • Almost 300,000 private sector eligible jobholders have been automatically enrolled.
  • TPR has opened 89 investigations into non-compliance by large employers. These investigations focused on employer readiness and helping employers become compliant.
  • TPR has not yet needed to use its powers to compel compliance.

What does it all mean?

The most worrying statistic in all this must be the 89 investigations into possible non-compliance. Especially as this appears to relate to only 83 employers who have completed registration up to March 2013. The companies involved are some of the largest public and private sector employers in the UK. They will probably have large payroll and HR departments and access to financial, payroll and legal advice. If larger employers are getting it wrong, how will the thousands of smaller employers cope next year when access to advice might be more restricted because of the massive increase in demand? For its part, although awareness among employers has increased, TPR seems to be taking a keen interest in possible cases of non-compliance. There could be many reasons for this – perhaps it's testing its own detection systems, perhaps it's gathering information about common areas of non-compliance to try and focus on areas where it needs to provide better help and guidance.

Fines issued for non-compliance

If there's anything that these 89 cases of possible non-compliance tell us, it is that employers must start to prepare early for auto enrolment. That way, they can make sure that they will have fully compliant systems, processes and pension schemes in place for their staging date. If not, they face investigations and possible fines from TPR. And the last thing you want is to become a statistic in the next TPR report under the heading 'Fines issued for non-compliance'.

Get in touch

Speak to our Corporate Benefits Director Peter Mutch for more information. Telephone: 01224 560741 Email: pmutch@acandco.com

Source:

The Pensions Regulator: Automatic enrolment, Commentary and Analysis, July 2013.

Peter Mutch, Corporate Benefits Director


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