The Pensions Regulator (TPR) is to prosecute a healthcare company and its managing director for trying to avoid providing their staff with a workplace pension.
The regulator alleges that Birmingham-based Crest Healthcare and its managing director Sheila Aluko have purposefully prevented their staff from being enrolled in a workplace pension through the government’s auto-enrolment initiative.
It further accuses the firm of falsely claiming it had enrolled 25 staff into such a scheme.
This is the first time the TPR has prosecuted an employer for knowingly providing false information in relation to auto enrolment.
Under the government’s initiative it is compulsory for employers to sign up their staff into a workplace pension scheme and failure to comply is an offence.
Crest Healthcare and Sheila Aluko have been summoned to appear at Brighton Magistrates’ Court on 22 December 2017.
They will each face two charges of willfully failing to comply with their automatic enrolment duties and one charge of knowingly or recklessly providing false or misleading information to TPR.
They face an unlimited fine, which the maximum sentence a magistrates' court can hand out.
If tried in a Crown Court the maximum sentence for each offence would have been two years’ imprisonment.
In November the TPR secured its first conviction for non-compliance with auto-enrolment.
Stotts Tours, a bus company from Manchester, and its managing director, Alan Stott, pleaded guilty to a total of 16 offences after failing to enrol 36 staff into a workplace pension.
The regulator has also issued a number of fines to companies that have not complied with their auto-enrolment requirements.
In the period April to June 2017 it issued 4,794 fixed penalty notices of £400 to employers for failing to meet their auto-enrolment duties, up from 4,673 the previous quarter.