Hundreds of thousands of small businessed warned on pension reforms

24th September 2014

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Hundreds of thousands of small businesses have been warned to check when they must meet new workplace pension requirements.

The call to action from the Pensions Regulator follows research showing around 20% of small employers and almost half of micro employers do not know the exact date they need to comply with automatic enrolment laws.

Every employer is given a date set in law when their duties start – this is their staging date, when they must provide employees with access to a compliant workplace pension scheme.

The regulator recommends that employers should start preparing for automatic enrolment 12 months ahead of that date and says employers should first check their staging date by using the staging date tool on the Pension Regulator’s website.

The regulator says that failure to prepare in good time puts employers at risk of non-compliance which can ultimately lead to financial penalties.

The employer survey shows that most businesses have sought, or will be seeking help from advisers – and the regulator is now calling on accountants, independent financial advisers (IFAs) and bookkeepers to be ready for the demand.

In particular, accountants have been urged to find out what they need to know about automatic enrolment so they are prepared. The message comes in the light of findings from the adviser survey – also published today by the regulator.

Executive director of automatic enrolment Charles Counsell said that while automatic enrolment continues to go well so far, he warned there is no room for complacency.

He said: “Looking at both reports alongside each other demonstrates the bigger picture: employers must prepare and they will be looking to advisers to help them. It is now vital that advisers use the information on our website so that they have the knowledge their clients are going to need to meet their pension duties.

“Too many small and micro employers still don’t know when their staging date is. While we write to employers 12 months ahead of that date, it is important for them to check if they need to be ready by next summer – or later. The easiest way to do this is by using the staging date tool on the regulator’s website.”

Some key findings from the employer survey:

Some key findings from the adviser survey:

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