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Whether you’re a butcher, baker or business app maker, do not ignore workplace pensions

Growing British businesses have a lot to think about, whether that’s cash flow, investment, recruitment, marketing or expanding. But there’s also a pressing legal matter that needs to be prioritised, which comes in the form of auto-enrolment and the workplace pension.
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Feast your eyes on our free auto-enrolment guide for SMEs

UK workplace pensions law means employers must put certain staff into a pension scheme and make contributions towards it. Already nearly 6.5 million workers have been automatically enrolled by around 170,000 employers.

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By the end of this year, 100,000 small and micro employers will have reached their staging dates – the date their workplace pensions duties start.

No matter what your business is, whether it’s a bakery or a barber shop, if you have one or more staff on your payroll then you will have workplace pensions duties by law.

The Pensions Regulator is responsible for ensuring employers comply with their duties so that staff receive the pensions they are entitled to. We work to raise awareness about automatic enrolment and to give employers the information they need. You may have seen our TV and online advertising featuring the character Workie.

This giant colourful creature reminds employers not to ignore the workplace pension. We also write directly to all employers alerting them to their duties, and our online Duties Checker is designed for people with no previous pensions experience. It takes just five minutes to complete and tells you what to need to do and by when.

The penalties for non-compliance with auto-enrolment

In addition to our advertising, letters and online tools, we also work with other organisations including employer and advisor groups which help us reach members and subscribers.

This is why The Pensions Regulator is pleased to be working with Real Business to produce a special digital guide to auto-enrolment. It has useful advice from your fellow business owners who have first hand experience of implementing auto-enrolment.

The Pensions Regulator cannot recommend or endorse any pension or payroll software provider, but this guide includes information on choosing a pension scheme and payroll software and telling your staff about auto-enrolment.

We hope this guide encourages you to start planning the best approach to auto-enrolment for your business. While we know most employers think that auto-enrolment is good for their staff and the majority meet their duties on time, a small number of employers have not started planning early enough and have left things to the last minute, and those who did not comply have incurred penalties.

We recommend you start planning for auto-enrolment 12 months before your staging date. Each employer has a specific staging date which is when duties start. This guide provides information about what you will need to do leading up to your staging date and beyond.

Neil Esslemont is head of industry liaison, The Pensions Regulator

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