Spot check on employers: TPR steps up inspections in compliance drive

Spot checks are to be carried out on employers across the UK to make sure they are complying with their workplace pensions duties.

The inspections are part of the Pensions Regulator’s (TPR) ongoing enforcement activity to ensure employers are meeting their duties correctly.

While compliance remains in the high nineties and workplace saving is now the norm, TPR will continue to build on this success through its communications, intelligence gathering and enforcement work.

Employers TPR judges to be at risk of failing to meet their duties are being visited. As well as providing valuable insight into employer behaviour, the spot checks are to investigate any non-compliance, help employers get back on track or take enforcement action where necessary.

The inspections also serve as a warning to employers that they cannot ignore the workplace pension and that deliberate non-compliance will not be tolerated.

TPR executive director of Automatic Enrolment Charles Counsell said: “Automatic enrolment has been a great success so far with more than seven million people now saving into a workplace pension. It is important employers continue to make contributions into their staff’s pensions and these spot checks make sure ongoing compliance is being maintained. It is not fair to staff if they do not get the pensions contributions they are entitled to by law. We take non-compliance seriously and will take enforcement action when we need to.

Counsell added: “As well as investigating any non-compliance, these inspections will also help shine a light on employer behaviour so we can see why different types of employers fail and also identify good practice that others can learn from.”

Employers are given a short period of notice before the inspection and will be from a range of business sectors including those at risk of failing to meet their duties, for example the hospitality and retail sectors.  

TPR’s recent quarterly automatic enrolment compliance and enforcement bulletin (PDF, 131kb, 9 pages) showed up until the end of December 2016, TPR issued a total of 9,831 fixed penalty notices and 1,477 escalating penalty notices. So far more than 400,000 employers have confirmed they have met their auto-enrolment duties by completing their declaration of compliance.

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