Pension Regulator statistics show 166 employers were fined for failing to comply with their workplace pensions duties in the last three months of 2014. A high proportion of this number were fined for failing to comply with Auto Enrolment documentation requirements. In this post, we cover the documentation required by the Regulator.
By law an employer must keep:
- Employee records including name and N.I number.
- Details of the auto enrolment pension scheme.
- Opt in (or Opt-out) notices for each employee.
- Evidence of employee enrolment in the pension scheme.
- Evidence of employee contributions paid.
- Evidence to prove that all those who should have been enrolled were actually enrolled in the scheme.
The requirement differs slightly depending on the three employee categories (those who must be enrolled, those with a right to opt in and those with a right to join) and detailed information is available from the Pension Regulator website. Records must be kept for a minimum of six years. It is an offence to try to persuade an employee to opt out of a scheme or to deny new employees access to the scheme as a condition of joining so it is also wise to keep detailed records to show that any opt-out is genuine.
Much of the required information should be available in a good payroll system but it is important to ensure that all required Auto-enrolment documentation is readily available as the Regulator does have inspection powers (with or without notice). The Regulator also has the ability to issue fines (detailed below) for non-compliance with the regulations.
One documentation requirement that can catch businesses out is the deadline for completing a declaration of compliance. This is an employer’s responsibility (not the pension company) with a deadline for submission five calendar months from the staging date. It is important to start this document in good time as detailed information is required including details of your main contact person, details of the pension plan, employee reference numbers and evidence they are enrolled in the plan. Detailed information on the requirements is available from the Regulator website.
In many cases, the Pension Regulator will send warnings if they detect an employer is failing to comply with one or more regulations but they can issue fixed penalty notices of £400 for non-compliance (with or without warning) or for failure to correct an identified issue within a given timescale. If the Regulator believes an employer may be breaching the regulations they have the right to inspect, again with or without warning.
The Regulator also has the power to issue daily fines of between £50 and £10,000 until an employer complies with their obligations. A £400 fixed penalty notice may also be issued for failure to deliver a compliance statement on or before the specified date. Given the potential costs in fines, the benefits of preparing for Auto enrolment in good time and engaging any professional advice required at an early stage should be obvious.
Should you wish to talk through your Auto enrolment obligations then please do not hesitate to contact us on 0800 0841 8343 or Email email@example.com. We are authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and operate UK wide. Alternatively, complete the form below and we will call you. Alternatively, why not download our free guide.