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Auto enrolment: Regulator gets tough on non-compliant businesses

by Bill Monty | Apr 29, 2016
  • The Pensions Regulator (TPR) has sent almost 100 “escalating penalty notices” to companies that have failed to meet their auto enrolment staging dates since the start of 2016. The first quarter of this year has seen a dramatic increase in penalty notices, as the regulator attempts to encourage employers to get compliant.

    The 28-day warning notice

    When a company fails to comply with their auto enrolment staging, TPR sends the directors a 28-day warning notice. The escalating penalty notices sent out this year were delivered to organisations that failed to heed initial warning notices.

    Escalating penalty notices

    These penalties can get costly for non-compliant businesses. Every day a business remains non-compliant their penalty increases. For small companies the penalty will increase by £50 a day, while larger companies will see an increase of £500 each day they remain non-compliant.

    These penalties are only incurred when an employer fails to comply with the 28-day warning notice they receive from TPR. Charles Counsell, Executive Director for Auto Enrolment at TPR, recently explained why employers are being fined heavily for not being compliant.

    “It’s simply not fair for staff not to receive the pension contributions they are legally due,” said Counsell. Failing to act also means an employer risks clocking up a significant penalty until they put things right.”

    A recent high profile case involving Swindon Town Football Club illustrated how seriously the regulator takes non-compliance. The club was fined more than £20,000 after it repeatedly failed to comply with its auto enrolment duties.

    Cases like Swindon FC’s are, however, a rarity, as Counsell revealed: “Most employers comply on time and we continue to see compliance rates in the high nineties. Others need a nudge and are prompted to meet their duties when one of our notices comes through their letterbox.”

    If you’re not compliant, talk to someone

    According to TPR, most UK small businesses are getting compliant. There are fewer first time offenders this year than in 2015 and TPR estimates that around 95% of the companies due to be registered by now are compliant.

    The regulator is also not out to perniciously penalise business owners. Counsell stressed the importance of open, honest communication: “Our message remains that, if things aren’t going well, then talk to us; don’t ignore us.”

    Sable Wealth are a both investment advisers and SME accountants. Therefore, we’re able to advise you on your scheme choice and manage the whole process for you.

    Give Bill Monty a call on +44 (0) 20 7759 7519 or email us on Our team will make sure your business becomes, and remains, compliant with all the relevant auto enrolment procedures.

    We are a professional services company that specialises in cross-border financial and immigration advice and solutions.

    Our teams in the UK, South Africa and Australia can ensure that when you decide to move overseas, invest offshore or expand your business internationally, you’ll do so with the backing of experienced local experts.

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