The Pensions Regulator is reminding employers that while the workplace has changed due to the pandemic, their workplace pensions duties have not.
All employers have a legal duty to automatically enrol eligible staff into a workplace pension and pay in the correct contributions for them.
While these are uncertain times for all employers, they must continue to do the right thing for their staff. Failing to meet automatic enrolment duties could lead to enforcement action including financial penalties.
Staff must be assessed to see if they are eligible for AE and if they are, they must be put into a qualifying scheme. TPR has a list of schemes which are suitable for AE.
Employers with temporary or seasonal staff you can consider using postponement. This means they can choose to delay working out who to put into a pensions scheme for up to three months.
One of the main reasons employers use postponement is when they have staff they know will not be working for them in three months’ time. However, employers can use postponement for other reasons including to allow more time to set up a pension scheme or other business process.
Once staff have been enrolled into a pension, employers have ongoing duties to ensure staff continue to receive the pensions contributions they are due.
Every three years employers must complete re-enrolment. This means they must put eligible staff who opted out, back into a pension which gives them a fresh opportunity to save.
TPR has lots of information for new employers showing what they must do to meet their automatic enrolment responsibilities. Legal duties include completing a declaration of compliance which shows TPR how they have met your duties. Failing to complete and submit your declaration of compliance could lead to enforcement action, which can include fines.
It is important you ensure employers provide TPR with their correct contact details so that they receive important information. This includes key reminders about action they need to take to ensure they are compliant with the law.
TPR will take a proportionate and risk-based approach, where appropriate, towards enforcement decisions in light of the pressure employers are under due to impact of COVID-19. However, employers continue to have duties and risk penalties if they fail.