By Ilonka Oudenampsen
The Pensions Regulator (TPR) has set out its strategy for tackling non-compliance with auto-enrolment legislation, including when and how it will use powers and details on the approach to prosecutions and inspecting business premises.
TPR said it will provide information and support so that employers know what they need to do and when, but employers who fail to comply may be subject to statutory notices, penalties or escalating fines.
In addition to auto-enrolment, from July this year all employers will be banned from offering incentives to their workers to opt out of an auto-enrolment pension, including refusing to employ someone because they want to join the company pension scheme.
In a statement, the regulator said it will consider using powers against employers where there is evidence of this behaviour. In order to help detect breaches of pension law, it will provide a whistleblowing facility, through which confidential reports of suspected non-compliance can be made.
TPR chief executive Bill Galvin said: “Every employer needs to play their part to make these pension reforms work, and our goal is to make that task as straightforward as possible. For those that do not engage, however, we want to make it clear there are consequences. We’ll apply the law fairly and where we find consistent or wilful non-compliance we will use our powers, so that employees do not miss out on contributions they are due.”
Executive director for employer compliance Charles Counsell said: “We’re supporting employers every step of the way so it’s clear what they need to do, by when and how they go about doing it. This includes writing direct to all employers at least twice and issuing guidance to their advisers and industry bodies.
“However, where we see persistent or intentional non-compliance we’ll take action, and this will include issuing fines to make sure that employees receive the pension contributions they are due in law.”
The new Compliance & Enforcement strategy and policy can be accessed on the regulator's website.