10 Jul 2017
Employers are being warned not to fall for a scam involving the sale of fake certificates which suggest they do not have workplace pension duties.
The Pensions Regulator (TPR) is investigating at least one company offering
'certificates of auto-enrolment exemption' to employers.
TPR says a number of employers have been persuaded to pay for the documents, with the scammers claiming the paperwork means the holders do not have any workplace pension duties.
While employers have been charged £58 for the certificates, TPR says the documents are worthless – no such documents are produced or accepted by TPR as evidence of auto-enrolment exemption.
Every individual or organisation in the UK that employs at least one person has auto-enrolment duties. For some this will involve simply informing TPR that they do not have any staff that qualify for automatic enrolment. In other cases, employers will have to enrol some or all of their staff in a workplace pension and make regular contributions.
TPR says there is no evidence that employers are buying the fake documents with the intention of committing any offences. However, employers who have failed to comply with their duties because they believe the documents give them an exemption leave themselves open to being fined, and may be committing an offence.
Darren Ryder, TPR’s director of auto-enrolment, said: "Most independent advisers offer legitimate services that assist employers with their workplace pension duties. Nevertheless, employers need to take care when they are seeking help or advice about what they need to do about auto-enrolment.
"We will work to root out the small number of organisations that are looking to prey on hard-working employers, abusing their trust and tricking them out of their money."
TPR says the vast majority of employers who have reached their deadline for compliance have met the requirements. Over the next six months, up to a further 500,000 small and micro employers will have to become compliant before their deadlines arrive.
Auto-enrolment affects all employers in the UK.
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