Employers fined £52,500 for auto-enrolment failings

By Jamie Clark, Business Development Manager

The Pensions Regulator (TPR) has taken the step of naming and shaming employers that have been served County Court Judgments (CCJs) for non-payment of auto-enrolment fines. We take a look at what this means for employers, their employees and advisers

Shamed into action?

Sixty-four employers have been served CCJs for failing to pay their Escalating Penalty Notice (EPN) fines in the first two quarters of 2017.

The fines, ranging from £500 to a shocking £52,500 across diverse business types, specifically relate to auto-enrolment failings. In the same period, TPR notes that 24 employers have paid an EPN but are still non-compliant and subject to further action1. TPR has published not only the names of the employers concerned but also their postcodes “…to avoid possible confusion with other employers with similar names2”.

What does it mean for employers?

It’s clear that, while most employers appear to be complying with their duties, TPR continues to be tough on those that fail to comply. Where an employer fails to pay a penalty and court action is taken against them, there is considerable business risk:

  • The reputational risk of being publicly named and shamed
  • Cashflow risk if a large fine as well as backdated pension contributions must be paid
  • Receiving a CCJ could affect the business’s ability to borrow in the future
  • Workers who become aware of non-compliance could become demotivated, leading to reduced productivity or even workers leaving the employer

What does it mean for advisers?

Advisers with business owner or director-level clients who might be subject to auto-enrolment in the future should have a strategy in place. Whether it is helping the client through the process or referring them to someone who can, avoiding action from the TPR will help not only your client’s business but yours as well; for example, you’d probably want to avoid your clients cashing in their investments to pay TPR fines and/or back contributions.

In addition, there is a potential opportunity in identifying which employers on TPR’s list are local to you. Perhaps you could offer the help and support they so desperately need to prevent further action.

You can find details of the employers that have been fined here: http://www.thepensionsregulator.gov.uk/fines

For more on our auto-enrolment proposition, speak to your normal Royal London contact.

Sources:
1.
TPR
2.
TPR Automatic enrolment compliance and enforcement quarterly bulletin, January to March 2017