The Pension Regulator has referred 785 potential non-compliance cases for investigation and has used its formal enforcement powers on 18 occasions, its commentary and analysis report shows.
The regulator says that in the period to March 31, 2014, 78 per cent of cases were closed without further action as the employer became compliant shortly after the regulator’s intervention.
By the end of March 2014 TPR had issued 14 compliance notices, one unpaid contributions notice, two statutory inspection notices and one statutory demand. Following the use of these powers, nine cases were resolved within one month, four cases within two months, one within three months, and one remains open. Over 99 per cent of employers completed their declaration without the need for TPR to use its formal powers.
TPR says underlying causes that led to it using its formal powers include organisational change relating to the closure or merger of entities and the treatment of their PAYE schemes, organisations where there are multiple employers and not all complete declarations, and insufficient time and resource given to planning and preparation for the onset of the duties.
Two employers asked for a review of the findings against them and the decisions were confirmed in both cases.
Primary concerns expressed by whistleblowers are late/missing pension contributions, a concern for 54 per cent. Other concerns relate to scheme governance or allegations of inducement (3%)
TPR says 4,590 of employers used postponement, the option available to employers to delay the assessment of their workers by up to three months from their staging date. It says 56 per cent of employers who declared using a DC trust based scheme opted for a DC master trust and 51 per cent of eligible jobholders were enrolled into them.
TPR executive director for automatic enrolment Charles Counsell says: “Our aim has been to encourage a proactive compliance culture amongst employers. The past year saw near universal compliance, with many employers actively embracing the changes with innovative communications to ensure their workers understood the benefits of a workplace pension.
“There is plenty of good news, with employers keen to ensure they do things properly and low opt-out rates. But we know there are challenges ahead. We will now continue our work over the months ahead to ensure medium and small employers understand their obligations, comply with their legal duties and continue to view non-compliance by other employers as unacceptable.”