Employers across the UK that try to dodge their workplace pension duties by changing their identity are being hunted.
The Pensions Regulator (TPR) has become aware of a number of employers that appear to have tried to conceal their failure to comply with the law by hiding behind a new name.
TPR investigators are now working with their counterparts at the Insolvency Service and other agencies to take action against offenders that try to use this ploy. Among the offences that may have been committed are fraud, theft and wilfully failing to comply with the automatic enrolment laws.
A number of investigations are now ongoing in cases involving scores of employees who have been denied the pensions they are entitled to.
The vast majority of employers comply with their workplace pension duties, automatically enrolling eligible employees into a scheme and paying the correct level of pension contributions on their behalf.
However, TPR believes those running a small minority of employers could be trying to hide their non-compliance with the law by opening new businesses, transferring their workforce across and then dissolving the original businesses. The suspicion is that by changing name, those involved hope to avoid having to pay the pension contributions due.
Investigators are also looking into whether rogue advisers could be suggesting to employers that they use the tactic to avoid their duties.
TPR is currently carrying out short-notice inspections on employers across the UK that are suspected of breaching their automatic enrolment duties.
Darren Ryder, TPR’s director of automatic enrolment, said:
“Some bosses might think that changing the name of their company they can avoid their duties but they should know they are on our radar.
“We are aware of the camouflage they are trying to use and will not be fooled by it.
“We will not tolerate any attempt to deny employees the workplace pensions they are entitled to - and will take action against those who try to dodge their duties.”
Anyone who suspects an employer is denying its workers the pensions they are entitled to should email firstname.lastname@example.org so it can be investigated.
Notes to editors
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).
James GloverSenior Media Officer