500,000 UK businesses are issued a stark warning

According to Corporate Features, The Pensions Regulator are due to release their latest automatic enrolment (AE) compliance figures shortly.  Although as at December 2015 more than 78,000 employers had completed their AE staging duties, worryingly in the last quarter of the year they had to issue more than 2,500 statutory notices.  In addition, they issued just over 1,000 fixed penalty notices of £400 and 24 escalating penalties.  Escalating penalties are where there are daily fines, in addition to the fixed penalty of £400.  These can be from £50 per day to £10,000 per day, depending on the number of employees the business has.

The real concern is that the majority of those fined are medium and large sized employers who you would expect to have both the knowledge and resource to comply with their AE obligations.

This week saw Swindon Town Football Company fined £22,900 after it repeatedly failed to comply with the regulations, resulting in them failing to put eligible workers into a pension scheme.

Charles Counsell, Executive Director of automatic enrolment, said: 'This case illustrates what can happen when an employer buries their head in the sand and disregards their duties. If things aren’t going well, then talk to us; don’t ignore us. Failing to comply on time will not save you money. Not only do you risk a fine, you will also have to make back dated contributions.'

Karen Thomson says:

'With the tsunami well on its way, with most months in 2016 seeing around 50,000 small and micro employers a month commencing their AE duties, it is really important these employers seek help if they don’t understand the requirements; can a small business really afford £400 one off fine and daily penalties of £50 or more per employee? 

Here at Armstrong Watson the payroll services team and pension advisors have been gearing up to help its clients for the last four years.  The payroll team process the payroll and can do everything in respect of AE processing on behalf of the employer, with the pension advisor team there to help advise on what might be the best pension scheme for their them and their employees. Don’t wait until it is too late, seek help now.'

Full details of the Swindon Town Football Company case including a timeline of events are outlined in Regulatory Intervention reports.

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