8,000 ‘staged’ employers yet to register

Almost 8,000 of the 23,000 employers who should have staged to date have not registered having done so with the regulator, according to figures from Hargreaves Lansdown.

TPR’s latest auto-enrolment registration report shows that up to the end of May 2014, 15,099 employers had confirmed their auto-enrolment scheme details.

But a Freedom of Information Request from Hargreaves Lansdown published last week shows that from 1 October 2012 up to 1 May 2014, 22,940 employers should have hit their staging date. Employers have five months to register their scheme after their staging date. The figures echo concerns voiced by providers that they are not seeing the volumes of employers predicted for the Q2 2014 peak. Last week Standard Life called on TPR to confirm it was comfortable with the rate of enrolment of Q2 companies.

TPR’s report also outlines how more employees have been excluded from auto-enrolment than have actually been enrolled. The 15,099 employers who have hit their staging date employ 16,470,000 employees, of whom 8,243,000 are already in a qualifying pension scheme. A further 3,633,000 have now been enrolled in an auto-enrolment scheme, but 4,174,000 have missed out on a work place pension because they either do not earn enough to meet the eligibility criteria or are under age 22 or over state pension age.

Hargreaves Lansdown head of pensions policy Tom McPhail says: “Employers have up to 5 months to register their scheme, and with over 14,000 having hit their staging date in the past 2 months, many may not have yet done so.

“Nevertheless, these numbers seem to be consistent with anecdotal feedback we’re getting from within the industry that some employers in the current wave of staging are struggling to meet their obligations on time.

“It isn’t yet clear whether this shortfall in scheme reporting is the result of delays in the registering of schemes which are fully compliant, or in fact it is attributable to thousands of employers failing to hit the deadline. We’ll find out one way or the other over the next couple of month.

“More employees have been missed by auto-enrolment than have been put into a pension.  This doesn’t mean auto-enrolment was a bad idea but it does show that more policy solutions are needed. Millions of employees are missing out on a pension contribution from their employer and have nothing but the state pension to look forward to. We’d like to see greater emphasis put on employee engagement, both for pension scheme members and for the ineligible employees who need to be encouraged to make provision for their retirement.”