The Pensions Regulator (TPR) has carried out spot checks in Greater Manchester to ensure employers are complying with their automatic enrolment (AE) duties.
Inspection teams visited dozens of businesses in and around the city to check that qualifying staff are being given the workplace pensions they are entitled to.
The move is part of a nationwide enforcement campaign which began in London to ensure employers are meeting their automatic enrolment duties correctly.
Last week Greater Manchester became the second area to be the focus of the short-notice inspections. Visits will begin in other towns and cities across the UK in the following weeks.
The checks will also help TPR understand whether employers are facing any unnecessary challenges that we can help them with, such as by improving our guidance.
But they will also highlight employers who have not taken the required steps to become or remain compliant, paving the way for enforcement action.
Darren Ryder, TPR's Acting Director of Automatic Enrolment, said:
"The vast majority of employers become compliant ahead of their deadline but visits help us to identify why some have not, so we can take action where we need to.
"Every employer has workplace pension duties and we are determined that every worker gets the pension they are entitled to.
"Automatic enrolment is not an option, it’s the law. Where we find employers are not complying with the law, we will use our powers to make them comply."
More than 500,000 employers across the UK have met their automatic enrolment duties, with nearly eight million workers given workplace pensions as a result. New data to the end of April 2017 reveals that in Manchester more than 3,100 employers have met their duties, along with more than 2,000 in Bolton, 1,300 in Bury, 1,400 in Oldham, 1,400 in Rochdale, 1,600 in Salford, 2,200 in Stockport, 1,300 in Tameside, 1,900 in Trafford and 2,000 in Wigan.
Across Greater Manchester as a whole, around 300,000 staff have signed up for workplace pensions to date.
- Our most recent quarterly automatic enrolment compliance and enforcement bulletin showed that in the first three months of 2017, TPR issued a total of 4,673 fixed penalty notices and 1,043 escalating penalty notices.
- Inspections are carried out under section 74 of the Pensions Act 2004. More information on our powers is set out in our automatic enrolment compliance and enforcement strategy (PDF, 152kb, 27 pages).
- Employers are notified about an inspection a matter of days in advance of our visit. Those being visited include organisations that we suspect may not be compliant or who we believe are at risk of becoming non-compliant in the future.
- 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