Auto Enrolment is coming, are you ready?
Q – So what is Auto Enrolment?
Put simply it’s your legal requirement to place your employees into a “workplace pension scheme” of your choice from a specified date.
Q – What is this date?
The date (called your “STAGING DATE”) depends upon your PAYE Reference but is likely to fall between late 2015 and early 2017 for smaller employers with 30 or less PAYE employees.
Q – Can I ignore it?
No – there are serious consequences for employers refusing to act or coercing workers not to join – which can include a number of different fines by The Pensions Regulator, who will ensure all UK employers meet their “AE” obligations. Currently these are £400 per breach plus £500 per day until rectified.
Q – What must you do then?
Using the guidance on The Pensions Regulators web site all UK employers should carry out the following steps of planning, implementation, and ongoing management, of a suitable Workplace Pension Scheme to meet their legal duties by this date.
Source-The Pensions Regulator Website 2015
Q – So why not leave it until the last possible day?
- Around 1.3 million employers will need schemes to be set up by 2017.
- You cannot guarantee a scheme as resource/time/capacity issues are expected, and your options reduce.
- The costs involved will certainly not be any less, and are quite likely to be more the longer you leave it.
- The Pensions Regulator expects your plans to be well underway by at least 6 months before your staging date.
So who are Bates and Partners Ltd?
Bates & Partners Ltd was set up in 2004 to provide accountancy and ancillary services to SMEs and sole traders. We offer a professional and friendly service to our growing client base and have assisted many companies in turning losses to profits. A large percentage of our new business comes from referrals by our highly delighted customers.
We are able to help with:
- Start ups
- Self employed
- Sole traders and Partnerships
- Limited companies
And what is the “Bates Solution”?
We offer a two stage process to get you to your own Staging Date with a scheme in place and then provide ongoing services to help you run the scheme at least for the first 36 months for set fees.
Whilst our AE services are “non-advisory” we do offer additional payroll and/or accountancy support and can arrange for financial advice if required.
So pre Staging Date we would:
- Explain how Auto Enrolment will run within your workspace (including payroll support).
- Register you and be the point of contact with the Pensions Regulator.
- Provide a helpline for you and your payroll.
- Build a key actions plan pre your Staging Date.
- Make an initial validation of payroll data.
- Ensure you select a Qualifying Workplace Pension Scheme to participate within.
- Assess your workers into the 3 types of members.
- Agree the final data for Staging with the member communications required.
- Introduce the scheme member helpline.
- Ensure your Declaration of Compliance is made to the Pensions Regulator in time
And then, for at least the first 36 months of the scheme:
- Handle weekly/monthly payroll data.
- Work with payroll over changes required.
- Provide annual Workplace Pension audits.
- Ongoing monitoring/review/record keeping.
- Assess/enrol any future new employees (and re-enrol opt-outs) when required.
- Handle any reporting requirements of the Pensions Regulator.
- Facilitate special contributions/transfers.
- Monitor the scheme member helpline.
- Maintain our helpline for you and payroll.
- Ensure you always have a qualifying scheme available for your “AE” responsibilities.
- Keep you informed of developments that may benefit you and/or your employees.
- Provide workplace pension educational tools to help understanding (given the new pension freedoms may encourage more to participate).
- Work with any third parties such as accountants (with your authority).
So what should you do next?
Well using an ostrich approach really won’t help here so to start the planning process you can;