Business owners still in the dark over workplace pensions rules

A survey by accountants HW Fisher found that, although 1.3m SMEs will have to offer their employees a pension in the next four years, 67 per cent had no idea of their staging date – the time when they will need to comply by.

Almost a third felt they didn’t know enough about auto enrolment to gauge its impact on their business, and 49 per cent said they understood little or nothing about the changes they need to make.

The survey also revealed startling complacency, with 34 per cent saying they are still “hoping for the best.”

Sailesh Mehta, partner at HW Fisher & Company, said: “So far auto enrolment has only affected Britain’s larger firms, but for the army of small business owners it is just around the corner.

“So it’s worrying that so many of them are burying their heads in the sand – auto enrolment is coming for everyone, and if you run a business, it’s coming for you.” 

The Pensions Regulator, the body responsible for enforcing auto enrolment, said last week that it used its powers for ensuring employers comply with the rules on 23 occasions in Q2 this year. These powers include workplace inspections, fixed penalties and escalating fines.

Related: 5 top tips for pension auto enrolment

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