The Pensions Regulator has for the first time charged an employer for deliberately failing to provide a workplace pension to its staff.
Bus company Stotts Tours and its managing director Alan Stott pleaded guilty to 16 offences of failing to comply with the law on workplace pensions, TPR says.
The regulator found 36 staff were not provided with a workplace pension and didn’t get paid contributions from June 2015 onwards.
TPR director of automatic enrolment Darren Ryder says: “Dozens of staff at the company were entitled to workplace pensions but were denied them because their employer deliberately failed to set them up.
“Automatic enrolment is not an option, it is the law. Employers should be in no doubt that if they wilfully refuse to become compliant they could end up with a criminal record – and will still have to give their staff the pensions they are due.”
The case against both the firm and Stott was heard on 10 November at the Brighton Magistrates’ Court and will be adjourned until mid-December.
TPR is also separately pursuing Stotts Tours for £14,400 in civil fines.
Hargreaves Lansdown senior pension analyst Nathan Long says the news should be a real “wake up call” to all employers in the country.
He says: “Whilst more than 20,000 employers have already been fined for not properly signing their staff up to a workplace pension, this is the first time criminal charges have been brought. Generally auto-enrolment has been embraced by employers, so it is good to see the regulator acting to punish those that have deliberately not complied.”