Extra 500k employers face auto-enrolment challenge

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The Pensions Regulator has upped its estimate of the number of employers that will be automatically enrolling staff into pensions schemes by around half a million.

Its annual auto-enrolment report shows that around 1.8 million small and micro employers will hit their staging dates over the next three years, up from the previous prediction of 1.3 million.

TPR says the over 30 per cent increase is due to more new firms launching and fewer companies going out of business than it had expected.

It had thought the auto-enrolment peak, due in summer 2017, would see around 220,000 employers enrolling staff for the first time but now estimates 350,000 firms will hit staging dates in that period.

TPR executive director of automatic enrolment Charles Counsell says: “As a result of more new employers starting up and fewer going out of business, the pensions sector will need to plan for larger numbers reaching the start of their duties. Thanks to automatic enrolment, saving for retirement is becoming the norm and we know most employers want to do the right thing by their staff.”

The report also shows 5.2 million employees had been automatically enrolled up to March this year. Of those firms yet to stage, 68 per cent of small and 64 per cent of micro employers are planning to turn to advisers for help, with accountants and IFAs most commonly cited.

Work and Pensions Secretary of State Iain Duncan Smith says: “The growth in the number of businesses expected to help their staff start a pension is further evidence of the success of our economy.

“More than 50,000 firms are now offering a workplace pension thanks to automatic enrolment, but there is still much to do.  That is why we are working hard to ensure small and micro employers have more support to help them through the process.”