Tuesday, 18 February 2014 10:53
Auto-enrolment: Firms fearing heavy fines still have time
Owners of small and medium sized businesses worried about heavy fines for missing auto-enrolment deadlines have been reassured they still have enough time.
IFP corporate member Legal & General said companies staging this year with three months to auto-enrolment implementation have not left it too late.
There are non-compliance penalties for missing the deadline.
In 2014 over 31,000 employers with 50 to 250 employees will reach their staging date.
NEST recently claimed that only 23 per cent of employers staging between February and July 2014 have done everything they need to do in order to be ready to comply.
Helen Buchanan, Legal & General's corporate managing director of marketing and distribution, said: "Many employers we speak to are concerned that they will not have enough time to implement an auto enrolment company pension scheme successfully.
"This belief is fuelled by recent DWP comments that employers need 12 months to prepare and because many in the pensions industry are saying that new stagers should start to get ready at least six months ahead.
"That's simply not true for the vast majority of cases.
"We estimate that a simple, off-the-shelf scheme can be set up from scratch in around just three months - provided that the company's personnel records and
payroll systems are accurate and up to date.
"If the employer is really committed to getting a scheme in place, it's quite straightforward to hit a staging date from three months out.
"But, anyone who leaves it much later than that could face hefty fines for non-compliance."
Ms Buchanan added: "Employers staging in May should be already well into their preparations for AE.
"But those staging in July and beyond should be able to hit their implementation date if they start by the beginning of March.
"In our experience, if we can get into an effective dialogue with the employer
three months before staging is due, we can help them plan their timeline and get their scheme in place before the Pensions Regulator needs to intervene."