Julia Irvine 14 Nov 2017 11:45am

TPR cracks down on employers dodging pension payments

The Pensions Regulator (TPR) has issued 50% more compliance notices to employers over the last quarter, in a crackdown on those failing to meet automatic enrolment duties or pay the correct pension contributions

Between July to September, the department issued 13,752 employers with compliance notices (compared to 9,265 in Q2), sent out 5,479 more fixed penalty notices and used its powers in a total of 21,753 cases relating to automatic enrolment, TPR’s latest quarterly report revealed.

At the same time, it sent 753 employers unpaid contributions notices (UCNs), up from 653 in the previous quarter. UCNs require employers to pay all backdated contributions payment within 28 days.

The department also named and shamed the pensions schemes and employers that it had taken action against. The list featured 169 new employers who were issued escalating penalty notices (EPNs) for an aggregate total of £1.27m for failure to comply, and were then taken to court and issued with county court judgments (CCJs) ordering them to pay.

This is a large rise in numbers compared to April to June’s figures. During that quarter, 51 employers were named after being given CCJs for a collective total of £425,000.

Commenting on the enforcement actions, TPR director of automatic enrolment Darren Ryder said, “It is not enough to just comply with automatic enrolment laws by signing staff up to a scheme.

Employers must also meet their duties to contribute into their employees’ pensions every month.

“Automatic enrolment has been hugely successful. There are now more than 800,000 compliant employers with more than 8.7 million workers in workplace pension schemes. The vast majority of employers are doing the right thing for their staff and are meeting their pension duties,” he added.

“Clearly, 753 employers not paying contributions is a very small proportion of those that are compliant – less than 0.1%. But every employer which is failing to make payments into their staff’s pension pot is one too many. We will not let employers get away with failing to meet their duties and we will take action.”

For clarification purposes, TPR has also issued new guidance for pension scheme trustees and providers on how to produce a chair’s statement. This covers existing legal requirements relating to the statements and how TPR expects trustees to meet them.