The proportion of auto-enrolment non-compliance investigations by The Pensions Regulator that uncover breaches has more than doubled since the start of the year.
According to Freedom of Information requests submitted by Creative Auto Enrolment and seen by Money Marketing, between January and August 58 per cent of investigations found potential or actual breaches.
Between October 2012, when auto-enrolment was first rolled out, and January 2014 just 23 per cent of non-compliance investigations resulted in breaches.
Creative Auto Enrolment managing director David White says: “It’s clear that many businesses are being left behind owing to a consistent lack of preparation in the market.
“The number of actual or potential breaches resulting from non-compliance investigations has risen seven-fold in eight months which is an alarming figure for UK firms.”
But the proportion of firms under investigation after auto-enrolling staff has fallen since the start of the year, despite smaller companies with fewer resources hitting their staging dates.
TPR executive director for auto-enrolment Charles Counsell says the regulator expects the number of breaches to continue to rise over the coming months.
He says: “As our knowledge of employer behaviour has developed over the past two years so has our intelligence and resource allocation to tackling non-compliance. We adopt a risk based approach in targeting our resources where they have the most impact and, although the number of investigations has risen, we have been very successful in working with employers to remedy breaches where they have occurred, without needing to use our statutory powers.
“We have also taken proactive steps working with high-risk employers to prevent non-compliance. Where we have taken enforcement action by issuing a compliance notice, this has given employers the necessary wake-up call to provide the pensions their employees are due.”
The regulator has a range of powers to tackle non-compliance including serving penalty notices of up to £10,000 a day for the largest employers, but is yet to fine a firm.