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Pensions regulator hits recruitment agency with £280k fine over illegal opt-outs

The Pensions Regulator has won a legal battle to fine a recruitment agency for illegally opting its workers out of its pension scheme.

Derby-based Workchain Ltd has been ordered to pay out more than £280,000 after directors Phil Tong and Adam Hinkley encouraged five senior staff at the company to get the workers out of the scheme so the company could avoid making pension payments on their behalf, TPR says.

The regulator bought the case to court, where financial controller Hannah Armson, HR and compliance officer Lisa Neal, and branch managers Martin West, Robert Tomlinson and Andrew Thorpe, were also found to have been involved in the plan to opt workers out of the Nest scheme.

TPR says some of the directors “phoned Nest posing as their temporary workers to get the employees’ account ID numbers. They then logged onto Nest’s online system and opted the temporary workers out of their pension scheme.”

Nest tipped TPR off after becoming suspicious of Workchain’s calls.

Sentencing last week, at Derby Crown Court, Judge Nirmal Shanti said: “This amounted to a deliberate subversion of the automatic enrolment process. It was a deliberate attack on the integrity of the electronic systems of Nest.”

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There is one comment at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. Sadly many directors believe that employees are a drain on profits, rather than looking at the contribution they make to their inflated lifestyles.

    Well done to the TPR in this case, maybe some of the high profile big boys will take note.

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