An estimated 700,000 employers are still set to reach their auto enrolment staging date between now and April 2018. Unfortunately, it is clear from our figures that an increasing number of small firms are looking the other way when it comes to their auto enrolment duties.
Of the companies that signed up with NOW: Pensions in the first quarter of 2017, nearly half (46%) signed up either very close to or after their staging date deadline had passed – this is the highest number ever recorded. On top of this one in four firms (25%) actually missed the deadline, up from less than one in five (18%) in Q3 2016. One in five (21%) contacted NOW: Pensions within a month of the staging date.
This can be very costly for businesses, as The Pensions Regulator (TPR) has begun to issue Fixed Penalty Notices to employers who miss their staging date deadline, which left ignored, can escalate into a County Court Judgement (CCJ) and could negatively impact the company’s credit file and their ability to secure funding in the future.
At the other end of the spectrum, around a third (35%) of small firms had planned a clear 6 months or more ahead of their staging date.
|Months to staging date||Q3 2016||Q4 2016||Q1 2017|
|6 or more||38%||38%||35%|
|3 – 6||9%||10%||7%|
|2 – 3||5%||4%||5%|
|1 – 2||10%||8%||8%|
|Within a month before staging||19%||19%||21%|
|After staging date||18%||22%||25%|
*Percentages subject to rounding
We want to make sure employers are planning well ahead, ideally up to 6 months before their staging date, as this will ensure enough time is given to comply with their auto enrolment duties as set out by TPR. Auto enrolment is complicated so the longer firms allow themselves to tackle it, the more confident and comfortable they’ll feel.
For guidance on what to do if you’ve missed your staging date click here.