The Pensions Regulator (TPR) is to prosecute recruitment organisation Workchain, its directors and some senior staff members for illegally opting employees out of the business’ workplace pension.
TPR has accused Workchain, its directors Phil Tong and Adam Hinkley, and a further five employees, of logging in to the organisation’s online pension system using employees’ personal details and then terminating employees’ workplace pension membership. This contrasts auto-enrolment regulations, which specifies that employees have to opt out of their pension arrangement themselves, if they wish to.
TPR is accusing the charged parties with unauthorised access to a computer programme under section 1 (1) of the Computer Misuse Act 1990. This is the first time TPR has prosecuted for this offence.
The defendants are summoned to appear at Derby Magistrates’ Court on 7 June 2018.
The maximum sentence for a conviction of computer misuse is six months’ imprisonment and an unlimited fine if the sentence is passed in a magistrates’ court, or two years’ imprisonment and an unlimited fine if the judgement is passed in the Crown Court.
Phil Tong, director at Workchain, said: “This incident relates back to our implementation of auto-enrolment pensions in 2014. We accept that we made some mistakes in our implementation, which led to an underpayment in our pension contributions of approximately £3,500. Since the implementation we have been totally compliant and fully support auto-enrolment pensions.”