Over a third of SMEs miss auto-enrolment deadlines so far in 2016

Posted by Alastair Mcdonald on Friday, August 5, 2016
More than a third (37 per cent) of small businesses missed auto-enrolment deadlines for employee pension schemes in the first half of the year, according to data from NOW: Pensions, risking heavy fines in the process.

One-in-five (21 per cent) UK firms who signed up to pension provider NOW: Pensions from April to June 2016 filed their auto-enrolment application beyond their staging date.

This was the highest percentage over the recorded quarters and a 16 per cent increase on the number of businesses that missed their staging date in Q1 2016.

The penalties for a business missing an auto-enrolment staging date can be costly. Firms risk fines of up to £5,000 and even court action.

34 per cent of business owners signed up with NOW: Pensions six months in advance of their staging date and approximately 26 per cent signed up at least one to two months prior to their staging date.

The Pensions Regulator recommends that businesses give themselves 12 months in advance of their auto-enrolment staging date to begin the pensions process with the majority of businesses i.e. those with PAYE schemes and up to 30 employees, required to have enrolled staff in a pension scheme by 1st April 2017.

Morten Nilsson, CEO, NOW: Pensions, said: “While it’s worrying that 21 per cent are missing their staging date, it’s also reassuring to see that 34 per cent are planning well in advance.

“Small business owners have a lot to think about and it’s easy for auto-enrolment to be put on the back burner but the fines for non-compliance are steep.

“Missing the deadline can cause unnecessary sleepless nights.”

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