In April, The Pensions Regulator (TPR) announced that it had fined Swindon Town Football Company (STFC) £22,900 for repeatedly failing to comply with its auto-enrolment duties.
TPR issued the football club with a compliance notice in August 2014 directing it to auto-enrol eligible staff in a pension scheme and contribute into this at the required rate, however STFC failed to so by the given deadline in October 2014. TPR took enforcement action following continued compliance delays.
Sarah Parkin, pension lawyer at Linklaters, said: “It’s difficult because the legislation is very, very detailed so it’s easy to get tripped up. There’s a lot of legislation to plough through and it’s very procedural. I think an organisation’s systems can be hard to adapt to what is needed.”
For example, this could include whether to classify employees as a job holder who is contracted to work in Great Britain, as well as keeping an eye on when employees turn 22, the age at which employers have to auto-enrol their staff.
Ferdinand Lovett, senior associate at law firm Sackers, said: “Staging date is everything. There is a chance you might be expecting your staging date to be one date and the regulations have got it recorded as another date. If you think your staging date is coming up, I would advise double checking with the regulator.”
Organisations should also look over their current pension arrangements to see whether these can be used to satisfy the quality requirements, added Lovett.
Communication with staff is also vital, especially in light of the increases to pension contributions, which are due to begin from 2018. Lovett said: “Look at your communications; get them reviewed by your advisors to make sure you are saying the right things. Preparation is what it’s all about.”