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pension concept shown on calculatorWith more than a quarter of small businesses unaware or unclear about their responsibilities ahead of this week’s auto enrolment staging date, we ask what happens next?

If your business employs 30-49 employees, your auto-enrolment staging date is this week. Payroll World reports that, according to HR firm Moorpay, 27.3% of small business are unaware of or unclear about their responsibilities, while a further 54.8% of those who are aware haven’t yet decided which pension provider to pick.

So if a staging date does pass in a blur of indecision or ignorance, what are firms supposed to do about it?

The Pensions Regulator is overseeing compliance, and the way it will handle issues of non-compliance very much depends on the attitude of ‘offending’ businesses and the steps they take to bring themselves back on track.

For those businesses that, for whatever reason, have been unable to comply, or have misunderstood their responsibilities the regulator will, at first instance, “work with you to get you compliant.”

Things are a little different for those who have chosen to ignore their duties. Here the regulator states: “we will use our powers where necessary to ensure compliance.”

Those powers range from formal notices and inspections to civil enforcement.

Pensions Regulator penalties

£400 fixed penalties notice are issued when a business fails to comply with statutory notices, or if there’s sufficient evidence of a breach of the law.

Alternatively, failure to comply with a statutory notice can result in a variable penalty, set at a daily rate of £50 to £10,000 depending on staff numbers.

Civil penalties (for failing to pay contributions) can warrant fines of up to £5,000 for individuals and up to £50,000 for organisations.

Where employers breach or fail to comply with compliance notices fines can range from £1,000-£5,000, again dependent on numbers of staff.

If you’ve missed your staging date…

Talk to us now. The quicker you contact us, the sooner we’ll be able to help you enrol, and the more you’ll limit any penalties.