169 employers fined for AE failings

At least 169 employers have been fined for failing to comply with their workplace pensions duties, according to figures released by The Pensions Regulator today.

TPR says 169 employers had been fined by the end of 2014, out of a figure in excess of 30,000 that had staged on time.

The number of employers approaching the date when they must confirm that they have complied with new workplace pensions duties by filing a ‘declaration of compliance’ is now beginning to rise significantly.

In future months, the regulator expects to see more employers who ignore advice to start early and either leave it too late or do not comply at all.

Approximately 30,000 medium sized employers, with between 62 and 149 workers, who staged between April and July had reached their deadline to complete their declaration of compliance by the start of December 2014.

A total of 166 Fixed Penalty Notices were issued in the last three months of the year, with fines of £400.

The number of compliance notices issued also rose with 1,139 notices issued. These notices instruct an employer to remedy a contravention of one or more of their employer duties or risk a fine or further action from the regulator.

A significant number of the notices issued in this period were to employers who had missed their deadline to submit their declaration.

The regulator’s research shows that the majority of employers who have completed the automatic enrolment process regret not allowing more time.

The Pensions Regulator director of automatic enrolment Charles Counsell says: “My message to all employers is that failing to declare within five months of your staging date means you risk being fined, which is why we recommend you start your automatic enrolment planning and preparation 12 months before staging.

“It appears some medium employers waited for a prompt from the regulator before completing their automatic enrolment duties. Employers must complete all their duties including making their declaration of compliance to The Pensions Regulator.

“With the mass market roll out of automatic enrolment to large numbers of small businesses in the coming months, we expect to see an increase in how often we need to use our powers. 

“The vast majority of employers complete their duties on or ahead of time, but we are seeing a small minority that require the additional nudge of a notice from The Pensions Regulator.”