Synopsis: TPR publishes automatic enrolment compliance and enforcement bulletin.

Date posted: Thursday, October 30, 2014

The quarterly update from The Pensions Regulator (TPR) on the compliance and enforcement of automatic enrolment reveals that there were 363 cases closed between 1 July and 30 September this year, bringing the total number of cases closed since the start of automatic enrolment to 1,280. This is a significant increase, as in the period since auto enrolment started to 30 June 2014, some 18 months, there had been 917, however, 363 occurred in the following three months. This confirms the warnings of many that said the smaller sized employers will have greater difficulty in meeting their obligations under PA 2008.

This period saw a significant rise in the number of employers needing to meet their duties as thousands of medium sized employers, (approx. 150-250 workers), who staged in April 2014 reached their deadline to complete their declaration of compliance at the end of August.

TPR continues to communicate with employers about how they should prepare for automatic enrolment as part of its educate and enable approach, including a new advertising campaign launched last week, but will take action to enforce compliance if necessary.

Headline findings of the bulletin include:

• 163 Compliance Notices were issued during the period. These statutory notices give employers a deadline within which to take certain actions.

• The first employers were fined for not meeting their duties. Three fixed penalty notices were issued.

• Research into employer awareness and calls to TPR’s contact centres have indicated that some small employers still do not realise the law applies to them.

Executive director for automatic enrolment Charles Counsell said:

‘We know most employers want to do the right thing and comply with the law. Where we take enforcement action by issuing a compliance notice, this gives employers the necessary wake-up call to provide the pensions their employees are due”.

‘As we deal with smaller employers, we will see more who, despite our message to prepare early, leave it too late or do not comply at all. This type of non-compliance is not acceptable. We expect to see the number of times we need to use our powers increase.’

TPR has a range of powers to tackle non-compliance including serving fixed penalty notices and escalating daily penalties notices.

‘It’s been two years since the first employers automatically enrolled their eligible workers into a workplace pension,’ said Charles Counsell.

‘In that time, more than 4.7 million workers have been put into a workplace pension scheme by their employer. That’s millions of people who have begun saving thanks to automatic enrolment. More than 33,000 large and medium employers have complied with their duties.

‘But we are not complacent. More than 1.25 million employers need to comply with their new workplace pensions over the next three years. For all these employers it is vital that they find out their staging date now, and plan early to ensure that they are ready in time.’

The new advertising campaign is reaching out to small and micro employers who, in some cases, only employ one or two workers, with a clear message from TPR: ‘Act now. It’s the law’.

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