In its latest compliance bulletin, the regulator says, for example, it had to use its powers on auto enrolment pension breaches 24,799 times in the final quarter of 2020 compared to 16,599 the previous quarter.
Many other areas of enforcement also saw a surge in cases.
The pensions watchdog ways that automatic enrolment enforcement is returning to “normal levels” following measures put in place in March 2020 to support employers hit by pandemic.
Other data from the bulletin shows:
- The number of Escalating Penalty Notices issued in the quarter was 2,957 compared with 7 the previous quarter and the number of Fixed Penalty Notices was 8,362 compared with 83 the previous quarter
- 53 Information Notices in relation to automatic enrolment were issued under TPR’s section 72 powers between October and December, including where used as an alternative to carrying out employer inspections during the pandemic.
- The total number of statutory powers used in respect of Frontline Regulation was 137 this quarter compared with 131 between July and September 2020.
Director of Automatic Enrolment Mel Charles, said: “The use of our powers declined significantly in the early months of the pandemic, as we introduced measures to support employers to ensure that they were not unduly penalised during a period of unprecedented administrative and financial disruption. We did not want to make a bad situation worse.
“As we anticipated and following the introduction of government support for employers, we have now lifted those easements and are returning to normal levels of enforcement activity.
“Despite the challenges, the vast majority of employers are meeting their duties towards their staff. However, as these figures show, we will use our powers where appropriate to ensure employers comply with the law.”