TPR resumes spot checks at employers suspected of shirking pension duties

The Pensions Regulator (TPR) is targeting employers suspected of failing to meet their workplace pension duties with spot check inspections.

It stated that the majority of employers being visited by the regulator are those that have failed to make the correct pension contributions for their staff.

The increase in compliance activity marks a return of larger scale in-person inspections by TPR, following the removal of Covid restrictions earlier this year.

Although TPR had continued with ‘urgent’ ad-hoc inspections on employers suspected of serious breaches, routine compliance drives had been paused amid social distancing restrictions.

Alongside the detection and confirmation of non-compliance, TPR said the inspections would allow it to gather ‘valuable insight’ into employer behaviour, including identifying common errors such as administrative errors in respect of ongoing duties.

In most cases, TPR inspectors will work on site with employers found to be non-compliance to assist them in getting back on track.

On-site inspections will be carried out across several regions and cities throughout the UK in the coming months, including Greater Manchester, Nottingham, Greater London and Belfast.

“Despite the challenges of the past two years, the majority of employers have continued to meet their responsibilities, including paying contributions in full on time and recognising that automatic enrolment is business as usual,” said TPR head of compliance and enforcement, Joe Turner.

“But where we are aware that an employer is failing to do the right thing, we will take action to protect savers, including on-site inspections. This means we could be knocking on an employer’s door in any part of the UK.

“Where an employer fails to meet their automatic enrolment duties, our priority is to make sure they become compliant. We use our wide-ranging powers to do so, including issuing financial penalties where appropriate.”

As well as carrying out spot check inspections, TPR also detects non-compliance using RTI data shared by HMRC, alerts from pension schemes, whistleblowing reports from individuals, and other information and intelligence.

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