by BFFF
Jan 27th, 2016
13 mins
BFFF

500k twitter

The Pensions Regulator is warning small and micro employers to act now to ensure they meet their new workplace pension duties and put certain staff into a pension scheme.

Nearly six million staff have already been put into a scheme by the UKs large and medium employers, but the vast majority of small employers have yet to reach the date their automatic enrolment duties start – this is called their staging date.

For many small and micro employers, meeting their automatic enrolment duties will be the first time they have provided a workplace pension scheme to their staff. We know that many of the smallest employers are not organisations at all. They are individuals who happen to employ someone, for example a nanny, a gardener or a personal care assistant.

A monster of a campaign to grab your attention

You may have noticed a new character recently arrived to help remind employers that the law has changed and that they have new workplace pensions duties.

Workie, the friendly, furry giant comes with a serious message: it’s time for small and micro employers to act. This big, colourful character will be seen visiting people in all sorts of work environments over the coming months, asking employers not to ignore the workplace pension.

Alongside the advertising campaign we have also launched a new online step by step guide www.tpr.gov.uk/en/employers. The guide is designed to meet the needs of employers who may not have pensions experience including those with just one or two staff. It uses everyday language, is interactive and contains videos and infographics so that employers can easily understand what they will need to do.

The step by step guide also has a duties checker www.tpr.gov.uk/en/employers/duties-checker and we urge all employers to input their details so that we can send them information tailored for them.

Which staff members need to be put into a pension scheme?

Staff who are over 22 and earn above £10,000 per year will need to be put into a pension scheme. You will need to complete a declaration of compliance to show you are meeting your automatic enrolment duties, and have given your staff the opportunity to join a pension scheme.

Even if your staff don’t meet the above criteria, you will still have duties to complete. Staff members who are not eligible to be automatically enrolled in a pension scheme still have the right to ask to join a pension scheme. It’s worth noting that a scheme only needs to be put in place if and when you have staff to enrol – there’s no requirement to set up a scheme ‘just in case’ this happens.

You will need to write to all your staff – whether or not they need to be put into a pension scheme – to let them know what’s happening and complete a declaration of compliance.

Single director companies – do you know what actions to take?

If you’re a director of a business with no staff, or if your business has a number of directors, none of whom has an employment contract, then you may not have any automatic enrolment duties.

Answering a few questions about your circumstances will establish whether you have duties or not – you can find out by completing the Duties Checker on the regulator’s website. There is also information on the website about husband and wife companies, family businesses and, on what to do if automatic enrolment duties do not apply to you. If you have received a letter from us but you do not have automatic enrolment duties you must tell us. Failure to alert us to your circumstances may trigger compliance action – go to www.tpr.gov.uk/en/employers/duties-checker now.

Plan ahead

If your business has a staging date coming up over the next few months, then you should take action now. Lack of planning remains one of the key causes of non-compliance.

Find out when you will need to act and what you need to do. With thousands of other employers going through the same process every week, it is wise not to leave things until the last minute and risk non-compliance and a possible fine.

We’re here to help, don’t risk a fine

Failure to complete a declaration of compliance triggers the issue of a compliance notice. This is a statutory notice giving employers deadlines for action. While we do not want to take enforcement action against employers, we will use these powers where employers do not comply with their duties.

We understand that many small and micro employers are concerned about what they need to do to comply with the law and most want to do the right thing by their staff.

For help and information, go to www.tpr.gov.uk/en/employers.

Key messages: January 2016 (employer focus)

Automatic enrolment: What to do if you have no staff to enrol
Even if none of your staff are eligible for automatic enrolment, they can still ask to join a pension scheme. A scheme only needs to be put in place if they ask to join or their circumstances change and they become eligible for automatic enrolment.

You will still need to write to your staff to let them know what’s happening and complete a declaration of compliance.

The frequently asked questions section on The Pensions Regulator’s website gives more information on what to do if there aren’t any members of staff to be automatically enrolled.
Automatic enrolment: Prepare early to avoid risking a fine
The Pensions Regulator has found a significant minority of employers have received compliance notices and fines because they have left it too late to complete their duties.

Employers should plan ahead and allow time to choose a scheme, assess their staff and tell them about automatic enrolment.

It’s important to understand what to do and by when. To find out, use the duties checker on The Pensions Regulator’s website.

Automatic enrolment: Not an employer? Don’t ignore letters from the regulator or you risk a fine
If you have received a letter telling you about your staging date but you do not have automatic enrolment duties you must tell The Pensions Regulator. Failure to alert them to your circumstances may trigger compliance action.

Use the duties checker on The Pensions Regulator’s website to find out what to do and how to notify them. Doing nothing leaves you open to compliance action.

Twitter: Tweets to support key messages:

Automatic enrolment: What to do if you have no staff to enrol
Employers if none of your staff are eligible for #autoenrolment you’ll still need to write to them so they know what’s happening www.tpr.gov.uk/writing-to-your-clients-staff

Employers even if none of your staff are eligible for #autoenrolment you’ll still need to complete a declaration of compliance www.tpr.gov.uk/completing-the-declaration-of-compliance.aspx

 Automatic enrolment: Prepare early to avoid risking a fine
Employers are written to 12 months before the start of their #autoenrolment duties by @TPRgovuk.  Employers act when prompted www.tpr.gov.uk/en/employers

Employers start planning 12 months before your #autoenrolment duties start make @TPRgovuk your first port of call www.tpr.gov.uk/en/employers

 Failing to act on time is a key cause of #autoenrolment non-compliance. Start planning 12 months before the staging date www.tpr.gov.uk/en/employers

Automatic enrolment: Not an employer? Don’t ignore letters from the regulator or you risk a fine
If you receive a letter from @TPRgovuk re #autoenrolment but aren’t an employer you’ll need to let them know www.tpr.gov.uk/en/employers/duties-checker

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