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Automatic enrolment tops half-million mark for employers

Ref: PN17-15

Issued: Tuesday 11 April 2017

The 500,000th UK employer has completed their workplace pension duties according to new figures released today by The Pensions Regulator (TPR), as the pace of automatic enrolment continues to increase.

TPR’s latest declaration of compliance report (PDF, 147kb, 10 pages) reveals that by the end of 31 March, 503,178 employers had completed their duties – meaning more than 7.6 million workers are now saving for their retirement after being put into a workplace pension since 2012.

In the first three months of 2017 alone, 136,000 small and micro employers complied with their responsibilities under the Pensions Act – an average of one every 57 seconds.

Pensions Minister Richard Harrington said:

“These impressive new figures show that by setting up a workplace pension, employers are getting their staff on the road to a financially secure retirement.

“But there are nearly a million employers out there who still need to enrol their staff and I would encourage them to take up the support on offer from The Pensions Regulator. Pensions can seem daunting, but there is a wealth of information available to help you get set up.”

Around 1.3 million to 1.4 million UK employers have automatic enrolment duties to meet, 500,000 of which have now done so.

On top of the 136,000 small and micro employers who have met their workplace pension responsibilities in 2017 already, around a further 600,000 have responsibilities that begin this year.

Charles Counsell, TPR's Executive Director of Automatic Enrolment, said:

“We expected that the number of employers becoming compliant would increase dramatically this year and I’m delighted that we’ve reached the 500,000 mark.

“Hundreds of thousands more employers are due to follow suit over the coming months and it is vital that they act early and do not leave themselves open to being fined.

“Some employers may see becoming compliant as a challenge but we have written to each of them and are here to help them to meet their responsibilities. I would urge every employer to check today that they know what they need to do and when they need to do it. Now is the time to seek help if you need it.”

Portsmouth-based Japanese car specialist Mitsi Art was one of the companies that took automatic enrolment past the 500,000 mark, when it met its duties on 30 March this year.

Kerry Joof, the office manager at Mitsi Art, said: “We recognise how important it is for our team to have workplace pensions to help them save for their retirements. We worked closely with our accountants to ensure we met our obligations. They did much of the work - there was no hassle for us at all.”

All employers have legal duties and can use the Duties Checker on TPR’s website to quickly understand exactly what they must do.

Editor's notes

  1. A study published by the Department for Work and Pensions in December 2016 estimates that there will be an extra £17 billion of workplace pension saving per year in the UK as a result of automatic enrolment by 2019/20. The first workers were automatically enrolled into pension schemes in 2012, starting with the largest employers. The policy was introduced to address under-saving with millions of workers not putting aside enough for retirement, and only one in three private sector workers paying into a workplace pension.
  2. TPR is the regulator of work-based pension schemes in the UK. Our statutory objectives are: to protect members’ benefits; to reduce the risk of calls on the Pension Protection Fund); to promote, and to improve understanding of, the good administration of work-based pension schemes; to maximise employer compliance with automatic enrolment duties; and to minimise any adverse impact on the sustainable growth of an employer (in relation to the exercise of TPR’s functions under Part 3 of the Pensions Act 2004 only).

Press contacts

James Glover

Senior Media Officer
01273 662098

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