Auto enrolment (AE) continues to surge ahead at an impressive clip: according to The Pension Regulator’s (TPR) figures, over 200,000 employers have now completed their workplace pension duties.
TPR’s declaration of compliance monthly report indicates that 234,589 employers have staged; a total of 6.65 million employees.
It’s been a landmark year for AE as the momentum has swelled in recent months. At the start of 2016, the number of employers that had enrolled stood at a far more modest 87,544.
In a statement, TPR’s head of AE Charles Counsell, said: “The 200,000 employer mark is another important milestone, which shows the successful roll out of AE to hundreds of thousands of small and micro-employers continues. However, we know there are challenges ahead as more than a million small and micro employers complete their duties.
“Employers should look out for envelopes from TPR arriving in their mail. In August, we sent around 60,000 letters to employers alerting them to the fact that they have a month to go before they need to act.”
There has been concern in recent months over the increase in penalties for non-compliance. But, according to TPR, in the context of the number of compliant businesses, these fines have been manageable. In a recent interview with BusinessZone, Counsell noted that compliance notices – as opposed to fines – are often all that’s necessary.
“Compliance notices often have to be issued because an employer has failed to plan early enough,” said Counsell. “Employers should start planning 12 months before their staging date – the date on which their legal duties start. Employers who are concerned they will not be able to comply on time should contact TPR.”
Planning 12 months ahead might sound daunting, but BusinessZone user Araza suggests a few simple steps: Compile a list of all employees that meet the AE criteria (TPR has an exhaustive guide), select your scheme ahead of time and provide your “employees with accurate, detailed information”.
“Your employees are placing their trust in your ability to select the best pension scheme for their needs,” wrote Araza. “The information you present to them should be well-researched, verified and easy to understand.”
The best place to start when thinking about how to choose your pension provider and scheme is The Pensions Regulator’s website. Make sure you know your duties – their online duties checker will ask you a few questions based on your individual employer circumstances and tell you the tasks you need to complete and by when. Most employers are able to check their duties in around 5 minutes (you will need your PAYE number to hand). Visit our website to find out more.