6th June 2016
With Workie all over the small screen today and everyone patting themselves on the back and saying what a good job they’ve done to make people aware of their auto enrolment duties, it comes as a surprise that Swindon Town FC became the latest high profile organisation to fall foul of The Pensions Regulator. It seems AE failures will continue to provide headlines for some time to come.
The ‘Robins’, founded over 100 years ago, failed to comply with their auto enrolment duties and were fined £22,000 by the regulator. It seems like their pensions administrator had already flown the nest!
Worse still they were issued with a compliance notice in August 2014, so they were given every opportunity to get out of the hole they had dug for themselves.
With many small and micro companies now about to reach their staging date and pressure on company cash flow to pay for AE, companies need to think very carefully before deciding to wilfully ignore their auto enrolment duties.
The Pensions Regulator has taken a tough line so that employers do not ignore their duties, using their powers to ensure deliberate non compliance is punished with fines.
However, worse still for companies is the power The Pension Regulator has to name and shame offenders. Section 89 of the Pensions Act 2004 gives us the power to publish information on cases where we have exercised or considered exercising our powers. This can be devastating in terms of a company’s reputation.
Some SME and micro employers still seem ignorant of basic information such as their staging date, but of course this can easily be found via The Pension Regulator website.
Staging dates were set in law as of 1 April 2012 and an employer’s staging date is the date their automatic enrolment duties come into effect. You must be prepared for this date. You’ll need your PAYE reference to find out your staging date. The PAYE Reference can be found on letters an employer has received from The Pensions Regulator about automatic enrolment. Alternatively, it can be found on the letter HMRC sent when an employer first registered.
If employers don’t pay staff through a PAYE scheme, their staging date will be 1 April 2017.