The Pensions Regulator (TPR) used its enforcement powers for pensions auto-enrolment non-compliance 35,862 times between January and March 2018, compared to 28,446 times last quarter, according to research by TPR.
Its Compliance and enforcement quarterly bulletin: January-March 2018 report, which provides information on the powers TPR has used as well as cases it has been involved in, also found that 11,156 fixed penalty notices were issued between January and March 2018, which is 3,721 more than the number of fixed penalty notices that were issued last quarter.
Since TPR began recording its compliance and enforcement action in July 2012, a total of 43,338 fixed penalty notices, which are fixed £400 fines issued to employers if they do not comply with statutory notices, or if there is sufficient evidence of a breach of the law, were issued.
The research also found that 2,770 escalating penalty notices had been issued between January and March 2018, compared to a 9,537 total between July 2012 and March 2018. An escalating penalty notice is a daily fine between £50 and £10,000, depending on how many employees an organisation has, which is issued when an employer fails to comply with a statutory notice.
Between January and March 2018, 19,986 compliance notices, which target auto-enrolment non-compliance of employer duties, were issued, creating a total of 98,489 compliance notices that were issued between July 2012 and March 2018. Approximately 2,037 compliance notices were sent to employers between January to March 2018 compared to last quarter.
A total of 1,762 unpaid contributions notices were issued in January to March 2018, which is 431 more than last quarter. Since July 2012, 6,022 unpaid contributions notices, which remedy a late or non-payment due to a qualifying pension scheme, were issued as of March 2018.
The report also confirmed that TPR used its powers to enforce governance and administration rules against non-compliant schemes 62 times between January and March 2018, including organisations failing to provide a chair’s statement, submitting a non-compliant chair’s statement or for not completing a scheme return on time.
TPR used its information gathering powers 45 times between January and March 2018 and it appointed 105 trustees to run pension schemes in order to protect members’ benefits.
Nicola Parish, executive director of frontline regulation at TPR, said: “We are working to be a clearer, quicker and tougher regulator. Very often, being clear that we are fully prepared to use our powers gets employers and trustees to the table and means members are safeguarded more quickly. Several cases are resolved thanks to clear and robust negotiation by our case teams and the early engagement of [organisations] and trustees.”
Darren Ryder, director of automatic enrolment at TPR, added: “Huge numbers of employers are starting their workplace pension duties every month and the vast majority are successfully meeting their duties. However, where an employer fails to do the right thing for their staff, we will take action using the wide range of powers available to us.”