The Pension Regulator's quarter figures for 1st July to 30th September 2016 have been released and there has been a huge rise in the number of notices and penalties issued to employers for non-compliance with auto-enrolment.
In this quarter The Pension Regulator issued 15,073 compliance notices, an increase of over 344% from the last quarter with 3,392 being issued. 3,728 fixed penalty notices carrying fines of £400 were also issued, an increase of 861 from the last quarter, up by 30%. Between July and September The Pension Regulator also issued 576 escalating penalty notices, up from 38 in the previous quarter. Depending on the size of the employer, these escalating penalty notices can carry a daily fine ranging between £50 and £10,000 per day.
The Pensions Regulator (TPR) says the rise is in line with the sharp increase in employers reaching their deadline to comply with auto-enrolment duties.
Since auto-enrolment was introduced in 2012 the following have been issued:
• 741 escalating penalty notices
• 26,040 compliance notices
• 6,779 fixed penalty notices.
A regulator spokesperson said: “Although the vast majority of employers are successful in meeting their duties, the minority of employers who fail to listen to warnings from us are subject to fines.”
The latest compliance and enforcement bulletin also emphasizes that explanations given by employers for non-compliance such as illness, being short staffed or confusion about their duties or miscommunication between employers and their advisers/agents are not a “reasonable excuse”.