If the letters you’ve received from The Pensions Regulator (TPR) have got ‘lost’ or you have simply ignored them because they didn’t make sense - don’t panic. Although missing your staging date isn’t ideal, you are not alone.
Employers failing to meet their staging date (the day from which your auto-enrolment duties apply) could receive fines from TPR. Therefore, it’s extremely important that you comply as soon as possible. You must select and set-up a qualifying workplace pension and enrol eligible staff, as the TPR is currently performing spot checks on companies across the UK.
At present, short-notice spot checks are being carried out by TPR to ensure employers are complying with their auto-enrolment duties. TPR inspection teams have visited businesses in London and Greater Manchester, with visits in other towns and cities scheduled, to check that qualifying staff are being given the workplace pensions they are entitled to. The checks will highlight employers who have not taken the required steps to become or remain compliant, paving the way for enforcement action.
Darren Ryder, TPR's Acting Director of Automatic Enrolment, said:
"The vast majority of employers become compliant ahead of their deadline but visits help us to identify why some have not, so we can take action where we need to. Every employer has workplace pension duties and we are determined that every worker gets the pension they are entitled to.
"Automatic enrolment is not an option, it’s the law. Where we find employers are not complying with the law, we will use our powers to make them comply."
If you’ve missed your staging date the good news is that there are some simple steps you can take to ensure your business is compliant and help get you back on track.
First things first, find out your staging date. You should have received a letter from TPR with the staging date (the date from which your auto-enrolment duties start) for your business on it.
If your staging date has passed then you’ll need to do the following:
Are you within 6 weeks and 1 day of your staging date?
You may be able to use postponement. You can postpone auto-enrolment for up to 3 months, but, you’ll need to act fast as if postponement notices aren’t issued within this period then you’ll be unable to postpone.
The next thing is to decide which workplace pension provider you want to use. It’s an important decision that could have long lasting consequences, not only for your workforce but also for your business, and therefore should not be made without due diligence.
Not all pension schemes are compatible with auto-enrolment, so you will also need to check this.
Let TPR know
Be proactive and contact TPR before they contact you and let them know you’re trying to set up a scheme as soon as possible. TPR issue fixed penalty notices to businesses missing staging dates; however, they do treat each case differently and showing you are proactively trying to correct your position will place you in the best position to minimise any fine.
Assess your employees
Before you can bring your scheme up-to-date you need to assess your workforce to establish which workers are eligible for auto-enrolment. Any eligible employees need to be enrolled and any employees who don't qualify need to be informed so they can decide if they wish to opt in.
Backdate your contributions
TPR will ask you to make up for the time you haven’t been compliant. If you’re less than three months past staging you are required to deduct employee contributions from your staff to be paid across to your pension provider, along with employer contributions from the date your members should have been enrolled.
You‘ll need to get in touch with payroll and using the previous payrolls for any missed periods, calculate any missed pension contributions. If you’re more than three months from your staging date TPR have the power to make you pay for the missed employee contributions as well as your own.
Communicate to your employees
Another employer duty is to inform your staff – if you need any further support we can help you with this.
Complete your declaration of compliance
Before you can become officially compliant you need to complete your declaration of compliance.
We appreciate this may sound complicated and a lot to do, but we have solutions that can get you compliantly back on track and complete all of this for you.
If you’d like one of our experts to take away the pressures of auto-enrolment then get in touch today on 01527 571 305 or email@example.com