The Pensions Regulator urges SME’s to start preparing for Auto Enrolment

Executive Director of Automatic Enrolment at The Pensions Regulator urges SME’s to start preparing for auto enrolment and the key steps you need to make to ensure compliance with the new legislation.

kSuhEiRVLlWDThis summer the national roll out of automatic enrolment has reached a landmark with all of the country’s largest businesses – with more than 17 million workers between them – now having passed their staging dates.

99% of these employers met their legal duties without the need for us to use our statutory powers.
Now, thousands of SME’s are reaching their staging dates – the date when their duties come into effect. We have also begun sending out letters to the first of the small employers (with fewer than 50 workers) who are due to automatically enrol their eligible workers.

All employers are affected by new workplace pensions duties, from corner shops to farms, builders to pubs. If you haven’t already done so, see when the duties start to apply to you – find out your staging date – by checking on The Pensions Regulator website. Employers must be ready to start enrolling eligible staff by this date.

Our aim has been to encourage a proactive compliance culture amongst employers. The past year saw near universal compliance, and many employers actively embraced the changes with innovative communications to ensure their workers understood the benefits of a workplace pension.

I believe this is a testament to the success of our proportionate, risk based approach to compliance and enforcement. Most employers will want to meet their obligations and to do the right thing for their workers. We target our resources where they will maximise compliance and work with employers to help them comply with their duties.

One message I am keen to get across to all employers is the need to check your systems can transfer payroll data to your provider before staging. Pension providers require employers to upload employee data in a specific pro-forma. If employers do not carry out advance checks they may run the risk of unintentional non-compliance to the provider as to who must be auto enrolled.

There is real evidence that employers understand automatic enrolment’s “we’re all in” message. But we know there are challenges ahead. We will now continue our work over the months ahead to ensure small and medium employers understand their obligations, comply with their legal duties and continue to view non-compliance by other employers as unacceptable.

We write to all employers 12 months before their staging date providing information on what they need to do and by when. Employers should consider this letter their call to action to start preparing.

Employers can also nominate a contact who will then be sent regular emails with information on what they need to do and when. We also provide educational materials and supporting tools to help employers, their advisers and suppliers prepare for automatic enrolment.

Our payroll software fully supports new workplace pension legislation enabling you to transfer your payroll data to your pension provider with ease. Find out more about Sage 50 Payroll Auto Enrolment Edition and The Pensions Module.