It’s a good idea to start preparing for auto enrolment before you need to set up your scheme, but we know this is sometimes easier said than done. So if you’ve left auto enrolment to the last minute or missed your duties start date altogether, here’s what you should do.
What to do if you’ve missed your duties start date
Set up your scheme as soon as possible
If you’re already behind with auto enrolment, you should get back on track as soon as possible. The Pensions Regulator would normally expect you to make up any missing employer contributions and to give your employees the opportunity to make up their missing contributions. You will also need to think about the impact on any salary exchange (sacrifice) agreements you may have in place. It’s possible that The Pensions Regulator may require you to make up all missing contributions.
Delays could result in escalating fines from The Pensions Regulator. The longer you ignore auto enrolment, the more it could cost you.
Contact The Pensions Regulator
The Pensions Regulator is more willing to work with employers who are actively working to meet their auto enrolment duties than those who appear to ignore them. So if you’ve missed your duties start date, contact them as soon as possible to let them know what you’re doing and when you expect to be able to fulfil your duties. Visit The Pensions Regulator’s website for full contact details – and make sure that you have your company’s PAYE reference to hand when you get in touch.
The Pensions Regulator is more like to fine you or impose other penalties if you don't take any action.
Tell your employees
Let your employees know that their employer pension contributions will be backdated, and to give them details of the workplace pension scheme you’re providing.
You’ll be expected to make up the employer contributions you would’ve normally paid. You’ll also need to tell your employees how you’re going to treat the employee pension contributions that have been missed, as well as decide whether you want to pay the contributions your employees would normally have paid or leave it to them to decide whether they wish to pay the missed contributions.
We recommend seeking legal advice if you’re looking to allow your employees to choose for themselves. This is because The Pensions Regulator may decide that you’re liable to make up the full value of all missed contributions since you didn’t make the necessary arrangements for employee contributions to be deducted from their salaries when they were due.
If you’d like some extra support, it might also be worth speaking to a financial adviser. If you don’t already have one, you can find a financial adviser via Unbiased.
Check your auto enrolment software
Not all auto enrolment software is suitable if you’re late for your duties start date. If you’re unsure whether you’ll get set up in time or you’re late setting up your scheme, you’ll need to check with your software provider to see if yours will still be fully functional.