Milestone reached in workplace pension plan

The number of employers in the UK meeting their workplace pension duties has hit one million, new figures have revealed.

The Pensions Regulator (TPR) published statistics this month showing how many employers are compliant with automatic enrolment, leading to around 9.3m people saving into a pension.

The roll out of automatic enrolment started in 2012 when employers were allocated a date by which their pension duties would come into effect, now called ‘duty start dates’, and there are around 300,000 employers more to go.

TPR’s director of automatic enrolment, Darren Ryder, described hitting the million employers figure as an “important landmark”.

He said: “By successfully meeting their responsibilities, employers have helped reverse the downward trend in workplace saving so that putting earnings into a pension has now become the norm.”

And he added:  “We are now focused on the challenges ahead so that employers continue to understand what they need to do so that staff receive the pensions they are entitled to.”

The TRP also issued another statement this month, highlighting its determination to clamp down on those employers who are failing to meet their obligations.

It revealed how a bus company and its managing director will have to pay more than £60,000 after they admitted trying to deliberately avoid giving their staff workplace pensions.

They pleaded guilty to a total of 16 offences of wilfully failing to comply with the law on workplace pensions – the first such prosecution by The Pensions Regulator (TPR).

The fines imposed at Brighton magistrates court are on top of the £14,400 in civil fines that the employer already owes for failing to comply with the law on automatic enrolment.

And the company must also pay an estimated £10,000 in backdated pension contributions for its staff, as well as paying all ongoing contributions that fall due, or they will face further enforcement action from TPR.

District Judge Teresa Szagun said the managing director of the company had initially buried “his head in the sand” and added: “This later left him in a position where he was out of his depth.”

Speaking after the case Darren Ryder said: “This case shows the cost to employers that failing to comply with automatic enrolment can bring – a bill of tens of thousands of pounds, a criminal conviction and a damaged reputation.”

To discuss any aspect of automatic enrolment or pension provision please contact me on 01772 430000.

I manage the affairs of a portfolio of clients in a wide range of industries. In managing the audit and accounts department of WNJ, I always keep abreast of the latest technical information and legislative changes. Clients receive advice based on commercial awareness not simply historical reporting. Audit and assurance services for large range of clients, including charitable companies and pension schemes, Internal audit and systems reviews, Assisting and development of business start-ups.