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Football club hit with £22k auto-enrolment fines

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Swindon Town Football Club has been fined £22,900 after it repeatedly failed to enrol eligible workers into a pension scheme.

The club was issued with a fine of £400 after it missed an initial deadline to begin enrolling staff, and was handed further fines of £2,500 a day for each day beyond a 28-day period that it failed to comply.

Swindon Town settled the fines in full in mid-February, with back contributions of £13,613.39 made to its pension provider in three instalments between 15 and 19 January.

The Pensions Regulator executive director of automatic enrolment Charles Counsell says: “This case illustrates what can happen when an employer buries their head in the sand and disregards their duties.

“If things aren’t going well, then talk to us; don’t ignore us.

“Failing to comply on time will not save you money. Not only do you risk a fine, you will also have to make back dated contributions.”

It marks the conclusion of regulatory action first launched in August 2014, when TPR first issued the club with a compliance notice.

In late February, the club completed a declaration of compliance, and claimed backdated contributions would be paid within two weeks, halting the escalating fines.

However, TPR was later contacted by the club’s pensions provider, which stated no pensions contributions had been made.

In June 2015, the regulator issued the club with an unpaid contributions notice, and later moved to conduct an inspection at Swindon Town, with the club agreeing to fulfil its duties.

By last winter, Swindon Town was issued with a second escalating penalty notice, requiring the missing contributions to be made within 28 days.

However, the football club’s pension provider informed TPR that all contributions had been made up, halting the penalty before it could come into force.

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  1. If the pension provider can stop penalties maybe they should be put in goal!

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