The regulator revealed that in the third quarter of 2016 it issued 15,073 compliance notices out of 26,040 since auto-enrolment began in 2012. This means three out of five of the compliance notices issued over the past four years were in the past three months.
TPR said the spike was in line with expectations, and was down to the fact that a huge number of small micro-businesses were reaching their staging date. Of the 15,073 businesses that were issued with compliance notices, 3,728 were issued with a fixed penalty notice, which comes with a £400 fine.
Just 576 were issued with an escalating penalty notice, which comes with a fine of between £50 and £10,000. Over the period, TPR used its powers 19,825 times, compared with 34,703 times since AE’s inception. TPR warned employers that excuses for non-compliance such as illness, being short-staffed, or confusion between employers and their advisers, were not “reasonable”.
Pensions minister Richard Harrington said employers “must enrol their staff into a scheme by the deadline for their firm, it’s the law”.
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