Now all UK employers must put certain staff into a pension scheme and contribute: this is ‘automatic enrolment’
If you don’t employ anyone then you are excluded and you can tell the Pensions Regulator this. If you are an employer, you will have a staging date which is the date that automatic enrolment duties come into effect for your business. There will be a list of activities that need to be completed to set up and enrol staff into a Qualifying Workplace Pension Scheme.
So here’s why you need to sit up and pay attention and how!
- Staging dates vary but can be found at www.thepensionsregulator.gov.uk/employers/staging-date.aspx A Staging date can be brought forward but not moved later.
- Start acting within the first month of staging otherwise you are in breach of the regulations and could be fined
- It is always the employer’s responsibility to ensure that they comply with the Legislation but a business owner can ask a bookkeeper to take on the role of facilitating the auto-enrolment; the employer simply remains ultimately responsible for complying.
- A Declaration of Compliance must be completed within five months of staging.
- If you are not sure whether a particular worker is, in fact, someone that the rules apply to, businesses can get guidance from the Pensions Regulator via firstname.lastname@example.org
- The minimum contributions are 2% (including 1% staff contribution) for staging dates up until 5th April 2018 and then they are proposed to increase to a total of 5% and later 8% but are still subject to Parliament approval.
- There are special rules for the first deduction of contributions on automatic enrolment and after this, the Law requires that staff pay deductions must be paid into the staff pension scheme no later than the 22nd day (19th if you pay by cheque) of the next month.
- Penalties: Penalty notices can be issued to punish persistent and deliberate non-compliance. A fixed £400 penalty notice is issued if an employer doesn’t comply with statutory notices or if there’s sufficient evidence of a breach of the Law. If an employer failed to comply with a statutory notice there is also an escalating penalty with a daily rate of £50 to £10,000 depending on the number of staff an employer has.
- If you know you are already in breach of the auto-enrolment Legislation simply confess to The Pensions Regulator; they are friendly and will do their best to assist you.
How we can help?
Arianna Helm is a fully qualified bookkeeper with the ICB. She can become the secondary contact at any company for auto-enrolment and the person that will manage or handle implementation. Bookkeepers cannot provide advice about pensions schemes themselves but they can help with the official record keeping including opt-ins and opt-outs and also assess new starters.