Auto enrolment: employers’ ongoing duties
The legislation surrounding auto enrolment in workplace pensions has now been in effect for five years. The Pensions Regulator (TPR) has won its first criminal prosecution against an employer for not providing a workplace pension scheme. (Find out more about this case in our Employment Law Bulletin.)
A large number of employers, though, have now met their legal obligations. However, there are a number of smaller employers still to stage.
You may not be aware of the ongoing regulatory duties which are crucial to the process. To ensure that employers continue to meet their responsibilities, all aspects of the auto enrolment compliance must be reviewed and regularly audited.
Will I be audited?
In March 2017, TPR announced that it would be conducting ‘spot checks’ on employers across the UK. It has since sent audit meeting requests to businesses in London, Greater Manchester, Sheffield, Birmingham, Edinburgh, Glasgow and South Wales.
We can expect TPR to continue directing resources towards auditing and reviewing employers that have already staged for auto enrolment, to make sure they are complying with their workplace pension duties.
How can I ensure a successful audit?
To ensure your audit is successful, you will need to demonstrate that you:
- carried out and documented detailed due diligence when your workplace pension scheme was set up
- have a workplace pension scheme that’s still fit for purpose – have you reviewed your pension scheme charges, investment performance and employee support capability?
- communicate with your employees. TPR may request an audience with some of them
- audit the contributions that are calculated and paid to the pension provider each month
- have auto enrolled all eligible employees
- have a process in place for new employees
- have processes in place to satisfy the re-enrolment requirements every three years
- are keeping accurate records
- have key decision makers within your organisation who are properly informed of the auto enrolment arrangements
If you’re confident that your organisation has met all of those requirements, and will continue to meet them, an audit request from TPR should be no cause for concern.
If you do have concerns, a professional review could help you. Our team at BKL Wealth, who are specialists in providing pensions advice and auto enrolment, can offer ongoing reviews of your auto enrolment compliance from the outset.