A bus company and its managing director will have to pay more than £60,000 after they admitted trying to deliberately avoid giving their staff workplace pensions.
In November, 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).
Today they appeared at Brighton Magistrates’ Court for sentencing. Stotts Tours (Oldham) was ordered to pay a £27,000 fine, £7,400 costs and a £120 victim surcharge. Alan Stott was ordered to pay a £4,455 fine and a £120 victim surcharge.
This is on top of the £14,400 in civil fines that the employer already owes for failing to comply with the law on automatic enrolment.
Stotts Tours (Oldham) must also pay an estimated £10,000 in backdated pension contributions for its staff, as well as paying all ongoing contributions that fall due, or they will face further enforcement action from TPR.
District Judge Teresa Szagun said: “Initially Mr Stott’s attitude was to bury his head in the sand. This later left him in a position where he was out of his depth.”
Darren Ryder, TPR’s Director of Automatic Enrolment, said:
“Compliance with automatic enrolment remains very high and so it’s extremely disappointing that a tiny minority of employers continue to flout the law by denying their staff the pensions they are entitled to.
“This case shows the cost to employers that failing to comply with automatic enrolment can bring – a bill of tens of thousands of pounds, a criminal conviction and a damaged reputation.”
- 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.
- 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.
- TPR has secured a CCJ against Stotts Tours (Oldham) for the non-payment of the £14,400 in civil fines imposed for non-compliance.
- 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).