One in five firms missing their auto enrolment staging date

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Embargoed for release: 18 July 2016

“Smaller employers are either planners or procrastinators,” says NOW: Pensions

Of the companies that signed up with workplace pensions provider NOW: Pensions in the second quarter of 2016, 40% completed their application either very close to their staging date or after their deadline had already passed.

Of these employers, 19% contacted NOW: Pensions within a month of their staging date whilst one in five (21%) left it until after their staging date had passed – the highest percentage over the recorded quarters.

At the other end of the spectrum however, over a third (34%) of firms signed up six months or more ahead of their staging date whilst over one in ten (11%) signed up three to six months in advance. Just 5% of employers took action between two and three months ahead of the deadline while 10% got their scheme in place between one and two months ahead of their staging date.

Months to staging date Q2 2015 Q3 2015 Q4 2015 Q1 2016 Q2 2016
6 or more 30% 31% 31% 13% 34%
3 – 6 16% 12% 19% 36% 11%
2 – 3 6% 9% 10% 6% 5%
1 – 2 16% 11% 12% 9% 10%
Within a month before staging 19% 27% 15% 21% 19%
After staging date 13% 10% 12% 16% 21%

*Percentages subject to rounding

Morten Nilsson, CEO of NOW: Pensions said: “As time goes by, it’s becoming increasingly clear that when it comes to auto enrolment, smaller employers are divided into planners or procrastinators.

While it’s worrying that one in five are missing their staging date, it’s also reassuring to see that a third are planning well in advance.

Small business owners have a lot to think about and it’s easy for auto enrolment to be put on the back burner but the fines for non-compliance are steep missing the deadline can cause unnecessary sleepless nights.

Auto enrolment is complicated so the longer firms leave to tackle it, the more confident and comfortable they’ll be able to feel.

Firms that don’t comply with auto enrolment receive a 28 day warning notice. If the warning notice is ignored, a fixed penalty notice of £400 is issued.

On top of that, employers with between one and four employees, can be fined £50 a day. Those employing between 5 and 49 people can be fined £500 a day.

For more tips on what to do if you’ve missed your staging date click here.



For further information:

Amy Mankelow / Cheriton Lee
NOW: Pensions
Tel: 0203 640 9075 / 0203 826 1464 /

NOW: Pensions @nowpensions

NOW: Pensions is an independent, multi-employer trust serving thousands of employers and hundreds of thousands of employees from a wide range of sectors.

A subsidiary of one of Europe’s largest pension funds, Danish pension scheme ATP, NOW: Pensions offers a simple and cost effective workplace pension solution direct to employers and via advisers and the payroll sector.

In April 2013, NOW: Pensions became the first master trust to attain the NAPF’s new PQM Ready Standard. The benchmark shows employers that NOW: Pensions is a well governed pension scheme with low charges and good member communications.

In January 2015, NOW: Pensions achieved independent assurance of scheme quality in accordance with the new master trust assurance framework (AAF02/07) introduced by The Pensions Regulator (TPR) in conjunction with the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW).

The NOW: Pension Trustee Directors, whose role is to safeguard the interests of members, comprises well-known industry figures with different areas of expertise:

  • Jocelyn Blackwell, founding partner Dunnett Shaw
  • Christopher Daykin, former Government Actuary
  • John Monks, member of House of Lords and former General Secretary of ETUC and TUC
  • Win Robbins, former Head of European Fixed Income at Barclays Global Investors
  • Nigel Waterson, former Shadow Pensions Minister

Employee charges are just £1.50 per month administration charge (reduced administration charge of £0.30 – £1.00 to be applied during auto enrolment phasing for lower earners) plus a 0.3% annual product investment management charge, with no hidden charges.

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NOW: Pensions has a good technical infrastructure combined with a pension product suitable for our team. We couldn’t be happier with NOW: Pensions.
Martin Woods,