The Pensions Regulator (TPR) has been active this year. Back in February a bus company and its owner were fined just over £31,000 for ‘wilfully failing to comply with the law on workplace pensions’ by failing to Auto Enrol a total of 36 staff into a pension scheme. That was the first prosecution for auto-enrolment offences although TPR has issued numerous penalty notices. Because this case ended up in a magistrate’s court the business owner now has a criminal conviction on top of the reputational damage to the business itself.
Non-payment of fines for Auto Enrolment (AE) and other breaches can also result in Court Orders and TPR has just announced that High Court Enforcement Officers (HCEOs) and their equivalents in Scotland and Northern Ireland will enforce these orders. Those who fail to pay could find the business’ assets being seized. Unlike bailiffs, HCEOs can make forced entry into premises.
The TPR has launched a programme of ‘spot checks’ across the North East of England to identify businesses that are not complying with the Auto Enrolment rules. This is part of a programme which began in London and has already covered Manchester, Northern Ireland, Glasgow and many other parts of the UK.
And it’s not just AE that’s on TPR’s radar, they are currently prosecuting Samuel Smith Old Brewery (Tadcaster) and its Chairman for failing to supply information and documents required for an investigation.
TPR is becoming more active all the time and employers need to ensure that they are just as aware of them as they are of HMRC.