The Pensions Regulator has issued its first report naming (and gently, shaming) an employer which failed to comply with its automatic enrolment obligations. The report indicates that the Regulator has effective systems in place to identify those not complying and it will intervene to help the employer meet the requirements. It may be of some comfort to employers struggling with the complexities of the legislation that the Regulator does not appear to have issued a fine for non-compliance - just ensured that all relevant employees have been enrolled and the correct contributions paid.
The Regulator was alerted to the problem when the employer, Dunelm, failed to register its compliance within the deadline (now five months from the staging date). Further enquiries revealed that employees had been enrolled into the scheme between one and three months late and that the correct contributions had not been paid across to the scheme's provider.
Reasons given by Dunelm for the delays included:
- problems with the accuracy of employee data;
- key members of staff leaving at crucial times; and
- problems with the design of the payroll system.
The Regulator got involved with Dunelm, the payroll provider and the scheme to make sure that these issues were resolved.
This case is a reminder of the importance of early preparation for automatic enrolment. It is never too soon to ensure that employee data is accurate, staff are appropriately trained and a payroll system is in place which is fit for the challenges of automatic enrolment.
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