As many as 63, 000 small firm owners could face fines totaling 25m for missing their auto-enrolment staging date, according to new analysis carried out by payroll software company Paycircle.
Around 1.8m small company leaders will face a legal obligation to set up an auto-enrolment scheme for their employees between now and 2018 and face a fixed-notice fine of 400 for failing to do so.
Failing to comply with legislation after a warning notice has been issued can see company owners face further escalating fines of up to 10, 000 per day.
The Paycircle prediction is based on statistics from government body the Pensions Regulator showing that 3.5 per cent of the companies obliged to auto-enrol workers since July 2012 have failed to do so.
Co-founder of Paycircle, Catherine Pinkney, said: Not only will many of the UK’s smallest businesses face significant set-up costs for workplace pensions, but a large number, according to the latest data from the Pensions Regulator, will also receive a fixed penalty fine.
in reality, the percentage of smaller employers that incur a penalty is likely to be higher than the rate to date as smaller companies have less people and time for administration duties. Now is the time for small firms to be proactive about auto-enrolment, or face fines that can rapidly escalate.
The study follows warnings by the regulator that 40 per cent of small employers had? paid up to £1, 000 for advice on auto-enrolment despite the fact that businesses with fewer than four staff can get free support from the government.
Additional research carried out by law firm Clyde & Co recently revealed that whistleblowing to the Pensions Regulator increased by one-third over the course of the last tax year with more than 2, 500 than tip-offs made.
‘small businesses yet to face their enrolment deadlines are not going to have the support of HR departments to help them deal with the administrative headache of enrolling their employees into a pension scheme, said Clyde & Co. head of pensions Mark Howard.
the regulator has put out a lot of guidance aimed at small firms, but even so, it’s not surprising we are seeing the number of whistleblowing and enforcement actions increase as the number of employers subject to auto-enrolment grows substantially, he added.
Confused about your auto-enrolment obligations as a sole trader or company director? This should clear things up.