The new Workplace Pensions Legislation and auto-enrolment are here and many employers are finding themselves ill-prepared.
Employers must make sure they are ready, when their time to comply arrives – or face the consequences, writes Mike Jenkins, Business Development Manager at Welplan Pensions.
The Pensions Regulator (TPR) has recently issued its first non-compliance notice to one employer who failed to meet their auto-enrolment responsibilities. Action against all who breach regulations has been promised by TPR and a recent report has shown 89 investigations have begun into possible cases of non-compliance by large employers.
Repercussions can stretch much further than a warning letter and TPR have been granted powers by parliament under the Pensions Act (2008) which allows them to enforce regulation to the full extent of the law.
Compliance Notices can be issued by TPR and are backed by statutory powers enabling them to levy fines, dependent on the size of the business and severity of the breach in regulation. Further non-compliance could see fines issued to individuals responsible at a maximum of £5,000 and to businesses at £5,000 a day or a fixed £50,000 penalty.
This then is a stark reminder of just why it’s so important to ensure your business is up to date with all auto-enrolment regulation. The most important piece of advice is simple: Planning ahead is important; be prepared and you’ll find you eliminate the risks associated with non-compliance.
According to recent research by pension’s consultancy Towers Watson as many as 95% of employees have chosen to stay in their company pension, rather than opt out, when they are auto-enrolled. With staging dates fast approaching for many employers, it is vital that employees know what to expect.
Auto-enrolment commenced as of October 2012, with different staging dates for varying sizes of business based on the number of employees they employed in April 2012. The scheme is being rolled out now and all employers will need to comply by April 2017 when businesses employing fewer than 30 members of staff will need to become compliant.
Every employer with two or more employees will be legally obliged to automatically enrol all eligible job-holders within their company. Those eligible are those working in the UK, aged between 22 and the state pension age and earning more than the threshold of £9,440 per annum.
This new workplace pension scheme will also see those employers who previously did not contribute to the private pensions of their employees now legally responsible for doing so.
Research found that 62% of employers began planning at least 18 months prior to staging and as a result found the switch relatively stress-free. Ideally, you should start planning 12 months before your auto-enrolment staging date.
Welplan Pensions has plenty of experience working with companies from the construction sector and can assist in meeting the statutory obligations placed on employers by the government’s auto-enrolment requirements. We provide services to some of the largest companies operating in our sector as well as some of the smallest. All companies are important irrespective of size and our services are competitive and remain the same irrespective of the number of employees.
Welplan can assist employers with the implementation and administration of the scheme; all the while making sure you are kept in the loop with updates regarding any changes to regulation which you need to know in order to stay on the right side of the law. In addition a fully integrated communication plan will help employees to feel connected to and gain a full understanding of the advantages of the scheme.
Welplan Pensions is designed to provide a bespoke solution for your company and can cover all employees. Welplan can assist employers in managing the process and reduce the stress of compliance and regulatory burden; providing a simple administrative system and dedicated support.
The next step you need to take as a business is to remain diligent, and ensure you are aware of how this new legislation affects your business and remain mindful of your timeframe – don’t get caught short for time.
For further information about Welplan Pensions, contact Welplan on: Free phone: 0800 1958080 or visit www.welplan.co.uk.