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Cheshire accountant Mitchell Charlesworth is warning employers to be prepared for new spot checks to ensure they are complying with workplace pension rules.
Ken Davies, director of payroll at the firm said the crackdown is a clear signal that The Pensions Regulator (TPR) is getting even tougher on employers that fail to comply with the law.
The consequences of non-compliance can be severe, with the TPR warning that it will take enforcement action, which can lead to hefty fines.
Additionally, the regulator has also warned that employers who ignore any fine they receive will face the prospect of a County Court Judgement which could seriously affect their ability to borrow money for their business in the future.
Davies said: “The message from the regulator to employers could not be clearer. The introduction of spot checks is a strong warning to employers that they cannot ignore the workplace pension and that deliberate non-compliance will not be tolerated.
“Our message to employers of all sizes is that they must ensure that they are fully meeting their obligations. If they aren’t clear on the regulations, they need to take expert advice and obtain professional support.
“Central to compliance is the on-going duties for employers to ensure they continue to make contributions into their employee’s pensions, which those workers are entitled to by law. The administrative demands that a workplace pension scheme brings, assessing and enrolling people, can be a challenge for employers, especially smaller businesses, which is why it is important that they seek expert advice and help early in the process to avoid facing action for non-compliance.”
More than seven million people are now saving into a workplace pension. TPR says employers will be given a short period of notice before the inspection. They are targeting a range of business sectors including those at risk of failing to meet their duties, for example the hospitality and retail sectors.
The TPR’s latest update on its automatic enrolment enforcement activity has shown the number of fines has again risen in proportion to the large number of employers now reaching their deadline to comply.
Up until the end of December last year TPR issued a total of 9,831 fixed penalty notices and 1,477 escalating penalty notices.