A bus company and its managing director have admitted deliberately avoiding giving their staff workplace pensions.
Stotts Tours (Oldham) and Alan Stott pleaded guilty to a total of 16 offences of wilfully failing to comply with the law on workplace pensions – the first such prosecution by The Pensions Regulator (TPR).
Darren Ryder, TPR’s Director of Automatic Enrolment, said:
“Dozens of staff at the company were entitled to workplace pensions but were denied them because their employer deliberately failed to set them up.
“Automatic enrolment is not an option, it is the law. Employers should be in no doubt that if they wilfully refuse to become compliant they could end up with a criminal record – and will still have to give their staff the pensions they are due.”
Stotts Tours (Oldham) should have put its staff into a workplace pension and begun paying pension contributions from June 2015.
TPR found that 36 staff from Stotts Tours (Oldham) should have been put into a pension scheme. It decided that the company’s failure to comply with the law was deliberate and merited the criminal prosecution of both Stotts Tours (Oldham) and Alan Stott.
Both Stotts Tours (Oldham) and Mr Stott pleaded guilty to eight counts of wilful failure to comply with the automatic enrolment duty under section 3(2) of the Pensions Act 2008, contrary to section 45(1) of that Act, when their case was heard at Brighton Magistrates’ Court on 10 November.
The case was adjourned for sentencing at the same court on 14 December.
TPR is separately pursuing Stotts Tours (Oldham) for £14,400 in civil fines imposed for non-compliance.
- All UK employers are required by law to put staff meeting certain eligibility criteria into a pension scheme and pay minimum employer pension contributions. This is called automatic enrolment because the employer is required to do it without any input from the worker.
- Wilful failure to comply with the automatic enrolment duty is a criminal offence punishable with an unlimited fine in a magistrates’ court, and up to two years’ imprisonment in the Crown Court.
- 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 (PPF); 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).