In June 2015, the first of 1.3 million small and micro employers saw their automatic enrolment duties come into effect.
Thousands of small and micro employers reached their staging date in June and the remaining will see their duties start over the next two years. Around two thirds of these will be micro employers – those with fewer than five workers.
Micro employers also include those who have just one worker, including employers of carers, personal assistants, gardeners and nannies and many of these employers will have limited experience of pensions. It is important that all employers understand:
- that they have automatic enrolment duties
- that there are consequences if they do not comply
- that The Pensions Regulator is here to help them.
Targeted information and tools for employers and their business advisers
The Pensions Regulator is continually reviewing and developing the tools and resources available to employers and their business advisers to ensure that they are suitable, relevant and easily accessible.
While awareness and understanding about automatic enrolment remains high among employers and advisers, there are gaps in knowledge. We know that the majority of small and micro employers are likely to ask their payroll bureaux, accountant or bookkeeper for help and our communications to advisers aim to target areas of knowledge which may be lacking.
Our research indicates that employers are likely to seek help in particular with the tasks of assessing workers and choosing a pension scheme. In addition to our existing suite of communications and tools to help with these tasks, the regulator is now working with stakeholders and professional bodies to introduce enhanced guidance and tools in the coming months.
Research also indicates that small and micro employers are likely to leave their automatic enrolment plans later than larger employers. While smaller employers have fewer staff, they are likely to have less pensions experience and they should leave plenty of time to plan and prepare. It’s also important to allow plenty of time to complete the declaration of compliance – leaving this to the last minute risks non-compliance.
Another key area where employers may need additional information is when using postponement. Postponement is a flexibility often used by employers who have a temporary or seasonal workforce, and which allows employers to postpone assessing their workers for up to three months. There are a number of steps which must be taken to ensure the flexibility is used correctly to avoid non-compliance. Information to help ensure postponement is implemented correctly is available from The Pensions Regulator’s website.
Communicating to employers
The Pensions Regulator has also been working to ensure employers have access to information in a variety of ways.
In addition to the letters and emails which are sent directly to employers at various stages during the lead up to the commencement of duties, The Pensions Regulator provides an online step by step guide for employers, enabling them to work through the tasks required to comply with their automatic enrolment duties.
The Pensions Regulator also produces a monthly news by email which employers can sign up to in order to receive regular, relevant and useful information about news and events. You can subscribe to this via the link given below. June stories include:
- Step-by-step web guide launched for employers
- June’s hot topic: Do single director companies have automatic enrolment duties and do they need to nominate a contact?
- Are you staging soon?
- Automatic enrolment of carers
The Pensions Regulator has recently launched a Facebook page, which includes YouTube videos (which cover key AE steps for both employers and business advisers), infographics, and also the latest news and events from TPR. To view the page, go to www.facebook.com/ThePensionsRegulator.
The Pensions Regulator – www.tpr/gov/uk
Find out when your automatic enrolment duties start? www.tpr.gov.uk/staging-date
Step by step guide to automatic enrolment – www.tpr.gov.uk/ae-guide
Information on postponement – www.tpr/gov.uk/postponement
Subscribe to The Pensions Regulator’s News-by-Email: Spotlight on AE – www.tpr.gov.uk/subscribe
View the key media messages for July 2015