Assets at risk for employers attempting to avoid auto-enrolment penalties

George Hay Chartered Accountants

The Pensions Regulator (TPR) has announced that employers risk having their businesses’ assets seized to cover their debts, if they fail to pay workplace pension penalties.

TPR has powers to fine employers who do not comply with current workplace pension rules. However, it has also confirmed that it is prepared to secure court orders if fines are not paid.

Where a court order is acquired and the business in question does not pay, TPR will engage High Court Enforcement Officers (HCEOs) to administer the orders in England and Wales, with an equivalent level of enforcement in Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Those employers who neglect to repay a fine could receive a visit from a TPR appointed HCEO at their business premises and have items removed and sold to recover the sum that is owed.

This might include the employer’s vehicles, machinery or any other assets present on the premises that are also owned by the business.

Darren Ryder, TPR’s Director of Automatic Enrolment (AE), said: “Automatic enrolment is not an option, it’s the law. Those who break the law by denying their staff the pensions they are entitled to should expect to be punished – and must pay any fines they are given.”

“The use of HCEOs is a last resort for us. Unfortunately, the behaviour of a tiny minority means it may be necessary.”

As part of its enforcement programme, TPR will also consider whether it should prosecute employers that remain non-compliant with their automatic enrolment duties, even after receiving a court order demanding payment of any fines.

Elaine Shaw, Payroll Manager at George Hay, said: “Employers simply cannot afford to forget about, or ignore, their Automatic Enrolment responsibilities.”

“It is your duty as an employer to enrol all eligible employees onto a workplace pension scheme and pay the necessary minimum contributions into it. Those who overlook the need to become compliant should be in no doubt that there will be consequences.”

Here at George Hay, our specialist team are able to assist employers with administering their chosen pension scheme and ensure that they are complying with the requirements of auto-enrolment at all times. If you would like to find out more, contact our team on 01767 315010.

Link: Assets to be seized from employers that snub workplace pension fines   

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