Your staging date for auto enrolment has been set by the Pension Regulator and it is an important date.
The pension regulator has written to everyone 12 months prior to their staging date. The Pension regulator suggests you start preparing for it at least 6 months in advance.
Do you know your staging date?
If you do not know your staging date, it is likely you have missed the Pension Regulators correspondence. You need to find out when it is. This date can be found on the Pension Regulator’s website or alternatively ask your accountant.
If you have missed your staging date
If you’ve missed your staging date and are within 6 weeks of it, you may be able to postpone it. It is important to note backdating your auto enrolment duties to the staging date will in itself be a nightmare, but you may also be liable to non-compliance penalties from the Pension Regulator.
Within 6 weeks of the staging date
If you are within 6 weeks of your staging date you can postpone the date up to 3 months. To do this you would need to have undertaken the following within 6 weeks of the original staging date:
- picked a qualifying pension scheme
- written to all staff explaining the postponement and that they will be re-assessed.
If this communication is not issued then the postponement effectively never happened and enrolment must be completed retrospectively backdated to the staging date.
After 6 weeks of the staging date
If the staging date was missed and you are outside this 6 week period postponing is not an option and you must backdate any auto enrolment pension contributions as required. If this is the case you need to complete the following steps:
- Get in touch with the pension regulator
The Pension Regulator issues fixed fines for businesses not meeting their auto enrolment duties. Missing your staging date is a breach of these duties. The quicker you get in touch the better.
- Register with a qualifying pension provider
Register with a pension provider. Be aware not all pension providers allow you to setup a pension scheme if you miss your staging date.
- Assess and communicate the options to your workforce
You need to assess your staff to establish whether they are eligible for auto enrolment. All eligible employees need to be enrolled. Your payroll software should assist you in undertaking this.
- Back date any missed contributions
You will need to pay contributions for all employees who are eligible or who have opted in as of your staging date. Workers missed contributions must be recorded and paid over to the pension provider.
- Complete the declaration of compliance
This must be completed to be fully compliant. Your payroll provider should be able to help and complete this for you.
If you have missed your staging date or are approaching it, please give us a ring to discuss the best way to ensure you are compliant and avoid or mitigate any penalties. Please call Lee Reynolds on 01788 539016.