Employers have been hit with the first escalating fines by The Pensions Regulator for failing to comply with auto-enrolment rules.
In the first quarter of the year, 198 firms were hit with £400 fixed penalty notices, compared to 166 in the last quarter of 2014 and just three firms prior to that.
In addition, the regulator issued its first four escalating penalties. These can range from between £50 and £10,000 a day depending on the severity of the breach. TPR would not say what level of fines have been issued.
It is expected the number of firms falling foul of the regulator will increase as smaller employers hit their staging dates. Over one million of the smallest employers will have to comply over the next three years.
Creative Auto Enrolment managing director David White says: “It’s no surprise to see that penalty notices from The Pensions Regulator have once again increased over the last quarter. In this period we’ve seen an increase of almost 20 per cent when it comes to fixed penalty notices – and over the last six months that figure is even bigger, with the number of notices rocketing from just three to 367.”
He adds: “TPR have shown that they have teeth and will bite, and with all the main political parties supporting the legislation, there is no prospect of it disappearing any time soon. These figures once again prove that businesses are struggling and that it’s essential for employers and their advisers to find support to help them through the process.”