The number of escalating penalty notices issued by The Pensions Regulator quadrupled in the first quarter of 2016, exposing small and micro employers to fines ranging from £50 to £500 a day.
TPR says 96 escalating penalty notices were issued in Q1 of 2016, bringing total issued to 127. The regulator says 806 fixed penalty notices issued in first three months of 2016, bringing the total issued since 2012 to 2,234. TPR says 3,057 compliance notices were issued over the period, bringing total issued to date to 7,834.
TPR’s warning to employers follows a separate report published last week by TPR into fines totalling more than £22,000 against Swindon Town FC.
TPR’s latest quarterly compliance report details the case of an employer in the restaurant industry which was fined £400, but still failed to provide evidence of compliance and so was issued an escalating penalty notice. The employer avoided building up daily penalties by contacting TPR and complying with their duties during the warning period.
Employers who fail to heed 28-day warning notices risk a fine that increases each day. TPR says more than 95 per cent of the first small employers required to put their staff into a workplace pension have now complied with the law. But TPR says
Minister for pensions Baroness Ros Altmann says: “Automatic enrolment is delivering fundamental change to workplace pension saving. So far over 100,000 employers have enrolled over 6 million workers. Levels of compliance amongst employers has been consistently high and I am pleased with all the steps The Pensions Regulator has put in place to support the huge number of smaller employers who have recently begun to undertake their duties.
“The aim of automatic enrolment is to get all employers setting up pension schemes for their staff. It is most encouraging to see that even the smaller employers are managing to do this, and the proportion facing enforcement action has stayed remarkably low.”
TPR executive director for automatic enrolment Charles Counsell says: “Most employers comply on time and we continue to see compliance rates in the high nineties. Others need a nudge and are prompted to meet their duties when one of our notices comes through their letterbox.
“It’s simply not fair for staff not to receive the pension contributions they are legally due. But failing to act also means an employer risks clocking up a significant penalty until they put things right.
“Our message remains that if things aren’t going well, then talk to us; don’t ignore us.”