The Pensions Regulator has issued its first three penalty notices to firms breaking auto-enrolment regulations following a huge jump in the number of times it had to use its powers.
TPR’s latest quarterly update on its investigations into auto-enrolment reveals it has served three firms with £400 fixed penalties for failing to comply with an unpaid contributions notice or a compliance notice.
The update shows there has been a surge in the number of compliance notices issued by the regulator over the last four months. TPR issued 163 notices between July and September 2014, compared to just 14 between the start of the auto-enrolment programme in October 2012 and July this year.
Last week, a survey of small and medium sized employers revealed the vast majority of SMEs yet to hit their staging date want a pause while the Budget pension reforms pass through parliament.
More than 33,000 large and medium employers have already begun auto-enrolling staff, with a further 1.25 million due to hit their staging dates over the next three years.
TPR executive director for automatic enrolment Charles Counsell says: “As we deal with smaller employers, we will see more who, despite our message to prepare early, leave it too late or do not comply at all. This type of non-compliance is not acceptable. We expect to see the number of times we need to use our powers increase.
“The regulator has a range of powers to tackle non-compliance including serving fixed penalty notices and escalating daily penalties notices.”