The Pensions Regulator, the U.K.’s pension watchdog, issued its first fines to employers for not meeting their automatic enrollment duties and issued 163 compliance notices.
According to its latest update on the use of its statutory powers, which a TPR spokeswoman said covers the period July 1 to Sept. 30, TPR issued three fixed-penalty notices, which carry a fine of £400 ($646) each, for failure to comply with automatic enrollment duties.
The fines were the first to be issued since the outset of TPR’s compliance and enforcement activities for auto enrollment, beginning in July 2012.
The regulator also issued 163 compliance notices between July 1 and Sept. 30, which inform employers that they need to take action on an aspect of auto enrollment. Those notices made up 92% of the total notices issued since July 2012.
Fines are issued if an employer fails to comply with an unpaid contributions notice or with a compliance notice.
TPR said it had also issued a total of 10 information notices — demanding information and documents from employers — since July 2012, with eight occurring in the third quarter of this year; and six inspection of premises notices, which allow the TPR to inspect employer premises, with half occurring between July 1 and Sept. 30.
“We know most employers want to do the right thing and comply with the law,” said Charles Counsell, executive director for automatic enrollment at the TPR, in a statement on the regulator’s website. “Where we take enforcement action by issuing a compliance notice, this gives employers the necessary wake-up call to provide the pensions their employees are due.”
Mr. Counsell reinforced a message already delivered by Mark Boyle, chairman of the TPR, at this month’s National Association of Pension Funds conference in Liverpool, England.
“As we deal with smaller employers, we will see more who, despite our message to prepare early, leave it too late or do not comply at all,” Mr. Counsell said. “This type of non-compliance is not acceptable. We expect to see the number of times we need to use our powers increase.”