Fines threat to 1,500 Peterborough firms as pensions deadline looms

Workie - the mascot for pensions auto-enrolment.

Workie - the mascot for pensions auto-enrolment.

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Bosses of more than 1,500 small businesses in Peterborough will be warned they face hefty fines if they miss a new pension rules deadline.

Hundreds of firms, employing just a few staff, could face fines of up to £400 if they fail to comply with the automatic enrolment regulations.

Employers can avoid the risk of a fine by making sure they do not bury their heads in the sand.

Charles Counsell, executive director

The warning comes from the Pensions Regulator as a wave of companies nears the date when they need to be ready to put all staff into a pension.

The rules apply to all types of small and micro employers from plumbers to florists to web designers and includes people who employ just one person, such as a nanny, gardener or personal care assistant.

The Pensions Regulator’s executive director of automatic enrolment Charles Counsell said: “We are tasked with ensuring employers comply with the law so that staff receive the pension they are entitled to.

“Employers can avoid the risk of a fine by making sure they do not bury their heads in the sand and start planning when they need to.”

All employers have specific deadlines and the letter from the regulator will alert them to the key dates. The process of automatic enrolment began several years ago and started with companies employing more than 120,000 people.

Employers need to begin planning 12 months before their duties start. For details visit The Pension Regulator’s Duties Checker http://www.thepensionsregulator.gov.uk/

A new advertising campaign by theDepartment of Work and Pensions featuring the huge mascot Workie will appear onTV this month urging employers not to ignore the workplace pension.

Mr Counsell added: “Around 124,000 employers nationally have automatically enrolled more than six million staff into a pension.

“We give employers plenty of notice and the information they need, but it is up to them to ensure they allow enough time to get ready.”

The regulator expects to send about 170,000 letters to employers across the UK who will see their duties start next summer.

About 96 per cent of the first wave of small employers required to put their staff into a pension have now complied with the law.