Did you know that the number of businesses fined by The Pensions Regulator for pension auto-enrolment erroes has risen 144% in the past year?
35,810 businesses were fined for pension auto-enrolment errors in 2017/18 compared with 14,650 in 2016/17. Total fines reached £42 million in 2017/18, up more than threefold from £12.6 million in 2016/17.
The rise in the number of fines is due in part to expansion of the auto-enrolment pension regime to cover small businesses of fewer than 50 employees. (Prior to these changes only large and medium-sized businesses were required to auto-enrol staff into a pension scheme.) The complexity of auto-enrolment schemes means smaller businesses without in-house HR functions are at risk of making errors when attempting to auto-enrol staff, and that the rise in fines does not necessarily mean employers are deliberately avoiding auto-enrolling staff.
From 6/4/19 new pension contributions come into effect, so it’s timely to have a review of your practices.
With this in mind, here are a few questions for you to reflect on, to ensure that your processes cover the requirements:
Understand the difference in the automatic enrolment date and postponement date?
Monitor the ages and earnings of your staff to ensure correct auto-enrolment?
Manage requests to join or leave (opt-out of) the scheme?
Keep records for six years (including names/addresses of those you’ve put into a pension scheme; when money was paid into the pension; requests to join/leave; pension scheme reference or registry number)?
Make payments due into the pension scheme each time you run payroll?
Have specialist payroll software to calculate pension payments you need to make on behalf of staff; alternatively, do you need to pay an accountant for the service?
Provide regular updates to The Pensions Regulator (TPR)? Failure to provide regular salary updates and data submissions on employees is regarded by TPR as non-compliance and can result in substantial fines.
Understand the contribution increases that take effect 6 April 2019? From this date, employers must pay a minimum of 3% of a portion of staff’s earnings into their pension. Total combined payments made by the employer and employee must be no less than 8%.
Has this note prompted any questions or concerns? If so, please contact us and one of our Expert HR team and we’ll be pleased to help.
Phone: 01932 874 944