Government rolls out pension spot checks

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During the last few days, inspection teams from The Pensions Regulator (TPR) have visited dozens of businesses in and around Manchester to check that qualifying staff are being given their workplace pension entitlement.

T H March warns that although the TPR is a friendly regulator, jewellery businesses which have not complied with its auto-enrollment duties will be in trouble.

For the spot checks, employers are only being notified a couple of days in advance, giving them no time to comply before the visit from TPR.

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“If you haven’t staged yet or if you have but you need some extra help and guidance in meeting your duties, please don’t delay, get in touch now,” says T H March financial planner, Steve Clemence.

For those yet to tackle the red tape, here are 10 things you need to know:

  • The Workplace Pension Act is mandatory
  • Not all employees are effected
  • Your staging date is unique
  • You can move your staging date forward to avoid capacity crunch
  • There are hidden costs
  • There are rules concerning communication with staff
  • Employees can opt out
  • It takes a long time to get staging-date ready
  • Existing pension schemes might not comply
  • You can go to jail for not complying

When asked about pensions, F. Hind’s finance director Steve Cornwall commented: “I think the most important thing to do is not ignore it. It is going to come whether you like it or not. The thing is to be open and honest with employees and to provide, in plain English, as best as possible, what the changes will mean for them. I think if employees understand it, they are more willing to accept it and take action, but if people don’t understand something they are more likely to bury their head in the sand.”

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