Snowballing auto-enrolment breaches see 1 in 7 miss staging date

Auto-enrolment staging defaults are accelerating with one in seven businesses applying to Aviva for a workplace pension made their application after their staging date had passed, figures from the provider show.

Late Prepared and Unprepared (Click for more)Figures from Aviva published today show that in Q4 of 2016, 14 per cent of employers applied after their staging date had passed, compared to just 1 per cent of those staging in Q1.

Aviva says 38 per cent of its customers left their application to the month before their staging date or later. Just under half of companies – 48 per cent contacted the provider at least two months before their staging date.

Around 500,000 UK businesses are due to set up a pension scheme during 2017 under auto- enrolment legislation.

Figures from The Pensions Regulator show that the number of employers failing to fulfil their auto- enrolment duties is rising. In Q3 2016, 3,728 fixed penalty notices for £400 each were issued. This is up from just 861 in Q2, 2016.

Aviva managing director of business solutions Andy Beswick says: “We’re seeing more and more firms applying to Aviva for a workplace pension after their staging date has passed. It’s something we need to keep a close watch on, but it is understandable. Auto-enrolment is now becoming a reality for very small companies which have many priorities and not necessarily the resources to deal with them all.

“The last thing anybody wants is to see small business owners getting fined because they haven’t got their workplace pension set up in time.”

“The decision of which provider to use for a workplace pension shouldn’t be rushed so dealing with it well in advance of the staging date can be an advantage.

“The message to businesses for 2017 is clear. If you haven’t been through auto-enrolment yet, this is likely to be your year. Don’t stick your head in the sand. Embrace it, find a way to use it as an advantage to your business and get your employees enthused about saving for their future.”