Failing to comply with your auto-enrolment duties and missing your staging date can trigger statutory notices, fixed penalties and even court action. Staging dates are based on the size of your PAYE scheme as of 1 April 2012. Most small and micro employers will commence the process between 1 June 2015 and 1 April 2017.
The Pensions Regulator has recently published a report on Automatic enrolment – Compliance and enforcement for the last quarter of 2016. The report highlights the fact that some employers have now received County Court Judgements (CCJs) for a failure to pay their automatic enrolment fines. This can happen when the employer persistently ignores the penalty notices sent to them. There has also been an increase in the number of people appealing their fines at Tribunal and to date no employer has been able to show that they had a reasonable excuse for failing to comply.
Small employers should check their staging date and ensure they are properly prepared to be able to offer their staff a pension scheme in a timely manner in order to meet the necessary requirements and avoid penalties. This report from the Pensions Regulator should give slow acting employers a further motivation to bring their compliance processes up to date.