Jun 2021


We need to talk about automatic enrolment compliance

The past year has been rough for all businesses. (That’s my submission to the “Most Obvious Statement of the Year” awards - hope I win!) But seriously, we all know it’s been the pits. With everything going on it can be really easy to forget about all the commitments you still have to fulfil as an employer, even in the midst of a pandemic. Auto-enrolment is one such thing.

What is auto enrolment? Put simply, by law, every employer with at least one member of staff must enrol all those who are eligible into a workplace pension scheme which they must also contribute to. Since 2019, employers are required to pay 3% of employees’ qualifying earnings, the employee pays 4%, and the government adds relief of 1% tax - making the total contribution 8%. Tidy right? (It’s called automatic enrolment as it’s automatic for staff - they don’t have to do anything to be enrolled into a pension scheme. The employer should do this for them).

Well, some staff may wish not to avail of the workplace pension scheme you signed them up to for various reasons. But regardless, after three years, every three years, you must put the staff back into it. This is re-enrolment. With this you must complete a re-declaration of compliance to tell the Pensions Regulator that you’ve met your duties. If you don’t do this you can be fined.

But is it like a fine? Or a fine fine? Well, they can get pretty hefty, put it like that. If the Pensions Regulator isn’t satisfied with how you’re running a pension scheme they can issue a Compliance Notice, Improvement Notice or Unpaid Contribution Notice. They may also estimate any unpaid contributions, charge interest on them and recover any unpaid contributions. If they’re still not happy and feel you haven’t complied with your obligations then they’ll come to your house, kick your door down and slap you upside the head. Just kidding, but they will issue you with a penalty notice and fine. These include :

  • A Fixed Penalty Notice with a fixed fine of £400
  • An Escalating Penalty Notice that charges £50 to £10,000 for every day you are non-compliant depending on how many employees you have in the PAYE scheme
  • A Prohibited Recruitment Conduct Penalty Notice with a maximum fine of £5,000
  • A Civil Penalty Notice for non-payment of contributions, of up to £5,000 per individual and £50,000 per organisation
  • An Unpaid Contributions Notice - this requires you to pay unpaid contributions plus interest and may make the employer liable to pay the employees' contributions which are overdue.

Crikey! I did tell you they aren’t messing about! So how can you avoid getting a penalty? Well, you can leave sticky notes on your calendar for every three years to remember to re-enrol employees, or you can tie a piece of string around your thumb really tight to remind you, or you can use an automated payroll system that will do all of the hard work for you in the background.

BrightPay Payroll Software is just the ticket. It’s an award-winning payroll software that automates all auto enrolment duties including re-enrolling employees for both employers and payroll bureaus. BrightPay is compatible with 18 different workplace pension providers and includes direct API integration with NEST, The People’s Pension, Smart Pension and Aviva. The software carries out all the employee assessments automatically and even sends out automatically prepared enrolment letters personalised to each individual employee. There is so much more I can say about this but instead let me direct to this page where the full features are outlined.

But the best bit? While most of the payroll software providers charge extra for the service, BrightPay provides it at no extra cost. *Mic drop* - wow! If that isn’t music to your ears then you must be deaf. Head on over and take another mental load off your poor suffering shoulders. You’ll never have to worry about the Pensions Regulator kicking your door down ever again.

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Posted byAoibheann ByrneinAuto Enrolment