The Pensions Regulator has already fined employers for failing to comply with the Workplace Pensions rules in the quarter to September 2014. It warns that some employers are not aware that the new rules apply to them.

According to the Regulator it issued fines of £400 each to three three medium sizesd employers and 63 Compliance Notices were also issued between July and September 2014. These statutory notices give employers a deadline within which to take certain actions.

Research by the Regulator into employer awareness and calls to the regulator’s contact centres have indicated that some small employers still do not realise the law applies to them.

Executive director for automatic enrolment Charles Counsell said:

“We know most employers want to do the right thing and comply with the law. Where we take enforcement action by issuing a compliance notice, this gives employers the necessary wake-up call to provide the pensions their employees are due.

“As we deal with smaller employers, we will see more who, despite our message to prepare early, leave it too late or do not comply at all. This type of non-compliance is not acceptable. We expect to see the number of times we need to use our powers increase.”

The regulator has a range of powers to tackle non-compliance including serving fixed penalty notices and escalating daily penalties notices. Some 4.7 million workers have been put into a workplace pension schemes set up by more than 33,000 large and medium employers.

A further 1.25 million employers will need to comply with their new workplace pensions over the next three years. 

Key staging dates

No. of workers Staging dates
250  or more Oct 2012 - Feb 2014
50 to 249  April 2014 – April 2015
30 to 49  August 2015 – October 2015
Less than 30  January 2016 – April 2017

There are special provisions as follows:

  • Small employees - those with less than 30 staff will have to join between June 2015 and 2017 depending on their last 2 characters of their PAYE reference number.
  • New employers (established after April 2012) will have to start automatically enrolling their workers from May 2017 to February 2018
  • Employers who choose to use Defined Benefit or Hybrid Schemes can delay their staging date until 30 September 2017

Useful links:

Auto-enrolment: client letter to advise on  requirements and collect data

This is a letter template to use in respect of auto enrolment. It is advised to update Letters of Engagement and discuss fees before committing to any detailed analysis of staffing.

Auto-enrolment: subscriber detailed guidance

This Practical Tax Guide looks at the key features of auto-enrolment, who is affected, what employers need to do, the relevant timescales and who is affected.

Auto-enrolment: freeview guide