The auto-enrolment solution for Northern Ireland

Accountants, Advisers & Payroll Bureaux Newsletter - June 2017

Posted in General News and Newsletters

Workers Pension Trust Growth Continues
At the end of May 2017 we had 3,000 employers and 39,300 employees as active members of Workers Pension Trust. New applications continue to grow rapidly and we expect to enrol our 40,000th member this summer.
The Pensions Regulator (TPR) begins employer spot checks nationwide
TPR has reported this week that their inspection teams will be visiting hundreds of businesses across the UK over the coming months to check that employers are meeting their duties correctly. They began visiting London-based employers in March and have recently moved on to Greater Manchester and will carrying out inspections in other towns and cities in the next few weeks. The checks are to help understand any challenges employers might be facing and to identify those who are deliberately ignoring their auto-enrolment duties and take enforcement action against them. 
Employers fined for ignoring pension rules
TPR has published its latest compliance and enforcement quarterly bulletin and, for the first time, has published the details of every organisation that it has secured a court order against after the employers failed to meet their automatic enrolment responsibilities. In each case the employer had been issued with an escalating penalty notice for non-compliance but had failed to pay it.
Separately it has published the details of every employer that continues to ignore its automatic enrolment responsibilities despite having been issued with, and having paid, an escalating penalty notice. These lists highlight the importance of meeting automatic enrolment requirements, emphasising the large fines that can be imposed on employers if they don’t. TPR Compliance and enforcement quarterly bulletin.
New employers and their duties
According to new research from TPR, nearly half of the accountants they surveyed didn’t know that, from October, new employers will have AE duties when their first member of staff starts work.
Make sure you’re not left behind on automatic enrolment by registering for TPR’s free webinar at 2:30pm on 6 July 2017. The webinar is aimed at accountants, bookkeepers, payroll professionals and other business advisers. Register for TPR webinar 
Bulk Completion of Declaration of Compliance
If you’re completing a declaration of compliance on behalf of a number of your clients, you can use the Regulator’s searchable bulk upload facility to upload their declarations at the same time. Find out how.
Employers who staged in 2014 are now re-enrolling.  Staff who initially opted out need to be re-enrolled into the Scheme three years later. Please note that the re-enrolment date is based on the employer’s original staging date and not on when an individual was put into a pension scheme. Find out more on our website.
Contributions are increasing in 2018 and 2019
By law, minimum contribution levels for automatic enrolment are increasing. The increases are planned in two phases from 6 April 2018 and then again in April 2019.

5 April 2018
6 April 2018 to
5 April 2019
6 April 2019
Employer Contribution 1% 2% 3%
Employee Contribution 1% 3% 5%
Total 2% 5% 8%

Please note that originally the first phase of the increases was due to start from October 2017. However, in April 2015 these dates were changed by the government to start from 6 April 2018.
Accurate Contributions, On Time
Your clients remain responsible for ensuring that the correct contributions are remitted to the scheme by the due date each month, as specified in the payment schedule issued in January each year.

As we move through the auto-enrolment process it becomes more apparent that auto-enrolment is not a one off exercise but an ongoing process.  The Pensions Regulator has significant powers to ensure that employers comply with their duties.
In closing thank you for your help and assistance in growing Workers Pension Trust into the largest pension scheme in the private sector in Northern Ireland.  By this summer we will be providing a workplace pension for 40,000 local people who previously had no pension provision apart from their state pension, that is something we should all be proud of.