The Pensions Regulator has fired a warning to half a million small and micro employers that they risk a fine if they do not act to meet their new workplace pensions duties.
The regulator says it expects to have to take increasing levels of compliance action as auto-enrolment moves to smaller employers who, despite having received letters telling them to start preparing early, will leave it too late or will not take action at all.
Today’s call to action comes as the furry character Workie returns to TV screens with his ‘don’t ignore the workplace pension’ message.
TPR has reminded employers that even firms with no staff who need to be put into a pension scheme will still have duties to tell staff about automatic enrolment and complete a declaration of compliance. Anyone who receives a letter from the regulator but who does not employ any staff could trigger unnecessary compliance action unless they contact the regulator, says TPR.
TPR executive director for automatic enrolment Charles Counsell said: “We are concerned that a minority of smaller employers are leaving things too late and struggling to comply on time. We are helping employers avoid this by alerting them in good time to their duties and giving them the tools they need to meet them. Employers should start planning 12 months before their duties start and make our website their first port of call.
“Workie is back again this year on TV, radio and across social media to remind employers they cannot ignore the workplace pension”, said Mr Counsell. “Our message to employers is to look out for letters from us and act on them. Those whose duties start in the first three months of the year should now be well underway with their plans.”