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The Pensions Regulator’s latest quarterly compliance and enforcement bulletin indicates a continued increase in the number of automatic enrolment penalties issued, as well as Escalating Penalty Notices (EPN).

The data suggests a small minority of employers who fail to act on warnings from the Pensions Regulator (TPR) are subject to penalties. That’s despite a 50% rise in the number of employers who comply with their automatic enrolment duties ahead of their staging deadline.

Richard Harrington, Pensions Minister, said: “Auto enrolment is a great success. So far, more than 250,000 employers are helping more than 6.7 million people save into a workplace pension.

“The duty is being extended to all UK employers and they must ensure they enrol their staff into a scheme by the deadline for their firm, it’s the law.”

TPR’s updated quarterly compliance and enforcement bulletin features a host of explanations given for non-compliance, ranging from illness and being short-staffed through to confusion between employers and their advisers. However, these are not a ‘reasonable excuse’.

Charles Counsell, Executive Director of Automatic Enrolment, TPR, said: “We recognise that employers have unique circumstances and challenges, but the law is still the law.

“Employers who are struggling should contact us, we are here to help – do not wait for a fine.

“The vast majority of employers are successfully meeting their auto-enrolment duties and are doing the right thing for their staff. A small minority do leave plans too late but in most cases the nudge of a compliance notice is enough to get them back on track and avoid a fine.”

The number of Compliance Notices issued to employers has grown to more than 26,000 since auto-enrolment began – of which 15,073 were for Q3 2016 – less than 5% of these progressed to an escalating penalty.

Throughout Q3 2016, TPR issued 3,728 Fixed Penalty Notices to employers for failing to meet their automatic enrolment duties.

Failure to enrol certain staff members in a qualifying workplace pension scheme ahead of your staging date and make contributions towards it could result in a fine from the Pensions Regulator.

Don’t get caught out – your local TaxAssist Accountant can discuss your automatic enrolment options with you. Our partners, Wren Sterling offer all businesses a qualifying workplace pension scheme through its Wren Sterling Master Trust.

If you’d like to find out more about this service that’s available to all TaxAssist Accountants clients, click here.

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