From Money Marketing

The Pensions Regulator issued 166 penalty notices to firms breaking auto-enrolment regulations in the final quarter of 2014, an increase from just three fines in the previous quarter. TPR’s latest quarterly update on its investigations into auto-enrolment reveals it served 166 firms with £400 fixed penalties for failing to comply with an unpaid contributions notice or a compliance notice in the last three months of the year.

The fines totalled £66,400 and compare to three penalties in the third quarter of 2014 – the first TPR had issued for auto-enrolment non-compliance. There was also a surge in the number of compliance notices issued, with TPR handing out 1,139 in the final quarter of the year, compared to 163 in the third quarter.

Approximately 30,000 medium-sized employers who had staging dates between April and July reached their deadline to complete their declaration of compliance by the start of December 2014.

TPR director of auto-enrolment Charles Counsell says: “My message to all employers is that failing to declare within five months of your staging date means you risk being fined, which is why we recommend you start your auto-enrolment planning and preparation 12 months before staging. “It appears some medium employers waited for a prompt from the regulator before completing their auto-enrolment duties.” TPR says that with auto-enrolment being rolled out to large numbers of small businesses in the coming months, it expects to see a further increase in the number of firms which leave it too late or do not comply with the rules.