Until now employers have had advance warning of when they will have to set up a pension scheme but from October 2017 new employers will not.
Most employers will have received notification of their Staging Date several months if not a year or two previously and will know that their Staging Date is the date when they will have to have a pension scheme in place. The final Staging Date for the last of those already established employers is 1 February 2018. Whilst there is an option to postpone your Staging Date for up to 3 months employees must be notified of this postponement within six weeks of the Staging date.
From October 2017 there will be no advance warning for new employers as they will be required to set up a pension scheme as soon as they register as an employer. So not only will new employers have to take time to understand how to run a payroll, they will also need to choose a pension scheme, set it up, understand how to assess their employees, make appropriate pension deductions, submit pension contribution information to their chosen provider and not forget to complete their Declaration of Compliance. Phew!
It is quite a daunting and time consuming task when you are a new employer but it is your duty if you have any employees who must be auto enrolled or who may be eligible to join. There are companies such as ours who regularly set up and run payrolls for new employers as well as set up and run auto enrolment pension schemes and will be able to support you through this. We have helped numerous employers through the varied challenges of auto enrolment over the last two years!
It is very important not to ignore your duties as an employer when it comes to auto enrolment. So many employers think it doesn't apply to them but figures recently released by The Pension Regulator show that only 1 out of 164 cases which were taken to Tribunal succeeded. Those 164 employers no doubt thought they had a good reason why they didn't have to comply but The Pension Regulator obviously thought otherwise and 163 of them will probably have received rather large penalties for not doing so. I wrote a blog called "When is a reasonable excuse not a reasonable excuse?" last November.
Don't bury your head in the sand and think the workplace pension doesn't apply to you. The fines aren't worth it. Even if you don't have anyone eligible to join a pension scheme you still have a duty to tell The Pension Regulator and will probably need to complete a Declaration of Compliance.
Our Auto Enrolment Administration Service will support you whether you just need to complete a Declaration of Compliance or if you need to set up a scheme or even if you don't know what you need to do! We will deal with the correspondence you are required to send to your employees, we will give you information about schemes to choose from, we will be able to assess your employees to see who is eligible and we will be able to deal with the ongoing pension administration. Our service will make the whole process simple and straightforward and will give you peace of mind and no fines. And it is cost effective too!
With 800,000 businesses reaching their Staging Date in 2017 it is going to be a busy time for pension providers so it makes sense to get yours set up well in advance of your Staging Date. Act now and tick that daunting task off your To Do list!
Contact Karen, our Auto Enrolment Administrator, to get your workplace pension organised. Telephone 01722 341820 today.