21% of businesses missed auto-enrolment deadlines in second quarter of 2016

An increasing number of small firms are failing to take necessary steps to ensure they set-up a workplace pension scheme, risking hefty fines

21% of UK businesses who signed up to pension provider NOW: Pensions from April to June 2016 completed their auto-enrolment application after their staging date had passed.

This was the highest percentage over the recorded quarters and an increase on the 16% of businesses that missed their deadline in the first quarter of 2016.

Read more: What auto-enrolment means for your business

While an alarming number of businesses were found to be delaying setting up a workplace pension scheme – risking fines of up to £5,000 and even court action – 34% of businesses signed up with NOW six months in advance of their staging date and approximately 26% signed up between one and six months before their staging date.

The Pensions Regulator recommends that businesses leave 12 months in advance of their auto-enrolment staging date to start the process with most businesses (those with PAYE schemes and up to 30 employees) required to have enrolled staff in a pension scheme by April 1 2017.

Morten Nilsson, CEO of NOW: Pensions, said: “While it’s worrying that 21% are missing their staging date, it’s also reassuring to see that 34% are planning well in advance.

“Small business owners have a lot to think about and it’s easy for auto-enrolment to be put on the back burner but the fines for non-compliance are steep. Missing the deadline can cause unnecessary sleepless nights.”

To learn more about auto-enrolment and how you can avoid missing the government deadlines, click here.

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