A number of businesses who have failed to sign staff up to a workplace pension scheme have been hit with escalating fines by the Pensions regulator for the first time and Susan Sedgwick, Managing Director at Watson Buckle is warning other firms not to get caught out.
Under current workplace pension rules, all employers with at least one member of staff have to undertake certain duties, including enrolling those who are eligible into a workplace pension scheme and contributing towards it.
Under this process, known as auto-enrolment, businesses must meet certain requirements by their set staging date, which is based upon the number of people they employ.
Those that miss their staging date are initially sent a statutory notice reminding them to comply however, those who persistently and deliberately refuse to comply, or who breach workplace pension rules, could face a fixed penalty notice of £400.
Failure to pay this fixed penalty notice could lead to a series of escalating fines, with a prescribed daily rate of £50 to £10,000, depending on the number of staff the business employs.
Susan Sedgwick from Bradford-based accountancy firm Watson Buckle, said: “So far the Pensions Regulator has only handed out escalating penalty notices to four firms, but this number is likely to increase as more staging dates pass.
“All businesses in the UK with at least one employee are expected to create a workplace pension scheme for their employees by the end of 2018 and most will already be aware of their staging dates, if it has not already passed.
“Failing to enrol staff into a workplace pension carries with it the prospect of hefty fines that could have a significant impact on you and your company.”
Susan Sedgewick added that firms need to take penalty notices seriously as the Pensions Regulator has confirmed that they will take civil action through the courts to recover penalties and will prosecute employers who deliberately and wilfully fail to comply with their duties.
If you are concerned about auto-enrolment or have been issued a penalty notice then it is important you consult an accountant sooner rather than later to ensure you do not incur any serious fines.
Employers seeking help on auto enrolment compliance should contact Watson Buckle for more information.