Employers who ignore their automatic enrolment responsibilities could find themselves with a County Court Judgement, The Pensions Regulator (TPR) has warned.
The first County Court Judgments (CCJs) for non-payment of auto-enrolment penalties have been issued to employers who have missed their staging dates. The TPA confirms that ‘”At Tribunal no employer has been able to show that they had a reasonable excuse for failing to comply”.
The alert comes as TPR issues the latest update on its automatic enrolment enforcement activity (PDF, 131kb, 9 pages). It shows the number of fines has again risen in proportion to the large number of employers now reaching their deadline to comply.
The report notes that an increasing number of employers have now been handed County Court Judgements (CCJs) after failing to pay their auto-enrolment fines. This can happen when employers persistently ignore penalty notices sent to them by TPR. Employers that fail to pay within 30 days of receiving the CCJ, will have the details entered on their credit record.
Charles Counsell, Automatic Enrolment Executive Director said: “A CCJ goes onto an employer’s credit record and remains there for six years, seriously affecting their ability to borrow money for their business in the future.
in interview when asked if the latest TPA quarterly bulletin showing another rise in the amount of fines means employers are struggling to meet their duties Counsell replied
“No not at all, the number of employers who are reaching their staging date is going up sharply and what we’re seeing is a consistent rise in the number of fines just simply in line with the number of employers who are reaching their staging date. Look our message is clear to employers, don’t ignore the workplace pension, if you ignore the workplace pension there’s a risk you could get fined.”
He continued “Burying your head in the sand and ignoring your legal duties means your staff are missing out on pensions they are entitled to and your credit rating and reputation could be hit.”
Counsell added: “Our message to small and micro employers has always been to ensure they leave enough time and be clear about what they will need to do to comply. We are here to help – but we will take action if an employer is wilfully non-compliant.
“There’s plenty of information on our website on how to assess and enrol people who work varying hours, so there’s no excuse not to comply.”