A fifth of business owners still unclear on auto enrolment duties

Business owners need to understand the new auto enrolment, we explain the facts for businessesAuto enrolment has been a long time coming and has been heavily publicised, yet a recent study into business attitudes towards and awareness of auto enrolment duties has unveiled that more than 20 per cent of business owners – equating to more than a quarter of a million micro-businesses – still have little understanding of what their duties are in relation to the statutory requirement.

Auto Enrolment facts

By 2018, all businesses must have a scheme in place, and deadlines and information have been rolling out since the Pensions Act set up UK Auto Enrolment in 2008. However, the case seems to be that many businesses are simply not taking action in time to meet their staging dates. The penalties from the Pensions Regulator for non-compliance can be significant – with fines ranging from £50 to £10,000 – and can even result in imprisonment.

The important thing to do is not to panic – but fast action is required. Business owners can find out their staging date by visiting the Pensions Regulator website and entering their PAYE reference. Once the staging date is established, the company owner should then assess which members of the workforce are eligible for the scheme – the criteria is listed in this Preparing for Auto Enrolment guide.

Finding a pensions provider to carry out auto enrolment duties

Next, finding a pensions provider will be key. Adams Moore is not able to advise on pensions or pension service provision, however there is a wealth of information on choosing a provider available at the Pensions Regulator website – among other sources. Adams Moore is happy to assist, however, with staging date information, and can execute management of the payroll to ensure smooth running of the scheme when implemented.

It can be a testing time implementing new procedures in the finance department and often the cost of outsourcing reaps rewards in ensuring the procedures are set up correctly, and also freeing business owners to undertake other important business operations tasks – safe in the knowledge that the right processes are in place and managed correctly. With changing legislation around payroll duties, the added pressure of incorporating pension schemes can make the whole process a daunting task with working out the right employer contributions.

Record keeping in relation to enrolled employees and those who have opted out or are not eligible. There are many onerous tasks that auto-enrolment brings and employers must be aware of these and prepared to meet the required duties, if they are to avoid penalties.

Any clients who are concerned about auto enrolment can call us in the first instance on 01827 54944.