The Pensions Regulator (TPR) has begun carrying out spot checks in South Wales to ensure employers are complying with their pension duties.
Inspection teams will visit dozens of businesses in Cardiff, Newport, Caerphilly, the Vale of Glamorgan and Rhondda Cynon Taf this week 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 in April to ensure employers are meeting their automatic enrolment duties correctly.
This is the first time these checks have been done in Wales. Short-notice inspections have also been carried out in Greater Manchester, Sheffield, Birmingham, Edinburgh and Glasgow.
The checks will help TPR understand whether employers are facing any unnecessary challenges that we can help them with, such as helping them improve their systems.
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 Director of Automatic Enrolment, said:
"The vast majority of employers are continuing to become compliant ahead of their deadline but these 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 690,000 employers across the UK have met their automatic enrolment duties, with more than eight million workers given workplace pensions as a result.
Data to the end of April 2017 reveals that more than 2,370 employers in Cardiff have met their automatic enrolment duties, along with 790 employers in Newport, 920 in Caerphilly, 900 in the Vale of Glamorgan and 1,400 in Rhondda Cynon Taf. As a result, more than 84,000 members of staff in those areas have been put into a workplace pensions to date.
TPR teams will begin visiting other towns and cities across the UK in the coming weeks.
- 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.
- 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).
Ciara Bridge-ButlerMedia Officer (AE)