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The Pensions Regulator issues first auto enrolment escalating penalties

The Pensions Regulator issues first auto enrolment escalating penalties

Four businesses have been issued with an Escalating Penalty Notice for failure to comply with an automatic enrolment statutory notice. This type of penalty can be up to £10,000 per day depending on the size of company.

The Pension Regulator’s latest automatic enrolment Compliance & enforcement quarterly bulletin shows that from 1 January to 31 March 2015, four companies were issued with an Escalating Penalty Notice (EPN). These notices are issued on a case by case basis and the regulator does take mitigating factors into account. Before an EPN is issued, employers are given a deadline by which time they must become compliant. The daily escalating penalty only takes effect if an employer remains non-compliant after the deadline has passed.

Some other key points from the bulletin include:

  • High levels of employers have reached their declaration of compliance deadline, and met their duties without the need for The Pensions Regulator to use statutory powers.
  • The total number of fines issued for failing to comply with their workplace pensions duties on time reached 371 by the end of March 2015
  • The Pensions Regulator expects to see the number of times it needs to use its powers to make sure employers comply with their automatic enrolment duties increase. As large numbers of small employers reach their staging dates, there will be more employers who leave it too late or do not comply at all.
  • While the number of times TPR has used its powers has decreased since the previous quarter, this is in line with the staging profile. (The larger number in the previous bulletin relate to around 27,000 employers who staged between April and September 2014 compared to around 4,500 who staged between October 2014 and March 2015).
  • The regulator’s research indicates that the majority of employers who have completed the automatic enrolment process regret not allowing more time to complete their duties.

The Pensions Regulator has produced online step-by-step guides for employers and for business advisers to help them to understand what needs to be done to be ready for automatic enrolment.