The Pensions Regulator ("TPR") has issued its first report on the impact of auto-enrolment on the UK's pensions scene. The results are encouraging, with over one million workers having been automatically enrolled into a compliant pension scheme and over 1000 employers having registered with TPR since October 2012.
The picture is not perfect, however, and TPR notes in the report that, as of 31 March 2013, it had opened 89 investigations into possible non-compliance by large employers. TPR does go on to say that these investigations "focused on employer readiness (e.g. communicating with jobholders) in relation to their duties and helping employers to become compliant".
It has also been confirmed that one employer has been issued with a compliance notice by TPR, while another 38 employers have received warning letters for failing to adhere to legislative requirements.
More and more medium and small-sized employers are nearing the date upon which their auto-enrolment obligations apply (known as the 'staging date'), and it is important for employers to recognise their responsibilities under the regime and ensure compliance from the outset. TPR takes a proactive approach to assisting employers with implementation, but has the power to impose significant financial penalties on non-compliant employers.
TPR has issued a number of helpful guides for employers both prior to and since auto-enrolment legislation came into force in 2012, and it has been keen to stress that the process of selecting a good quality pension scheme is not a difficult one; moreover, such a scheme would not necessarily cost more than a scheme of lesser quality.