Automatic enrolment  

Nursery director admits to avoiding paying pensions

Nursery director admits to avoiding paying pensions

A pre-school nursery and its main director have pleaded guilty after trying to avoid providing their staff with a workplace pension.

Appearing at the Brighton Magistrates’ Court on November 13, Merseyside-based Sulouste - which trades as Tiny Hearts Day Nursery - admitted to willfully failing to comply with its auto-enrolment responsibilities.

Its director, Christine Moore, also admitted to providing the watchdog with false and misleading information.

In a false declaration of compliance, Ms Moore told TPR her company had automatically enrolled 13 nursery staff.

But after an alert from a whistleblower and an investigation by the regulator, it emerged a pension scheme had been set up but no staff had been automatically enrolled.

According to Darren Ryder, director of automatic enrolment at TPR, any employee who is eligible for automatic enrolment must be put into a pension and contributions must be paid in on their behalf.

He said: “TPR will not stand by if an employer does not meet their responsibilities and we will take action to make sure staff get the pensions they are entitled to.

“While the majority of employers do the right thing, Ms Moore misled TPR to cover up that she was deliberately denying her staff the pensions they are due. This is a serious offence which we will not tolerate.”

Sulouste and Ms Moore will be sentenced on November 20 at Brighton Magistrates’ Court.

In another case, Vincent Bootes, a businessman taken to court for failing to pass on information about his companies' pension arrangements pleaded not guilty at the Brighton Magistrates’ Court on November 13.

According to Companies House, Mr Bootes has nine companies registered in two addresses, some in Liphook, Hampshire, and others in Cobham, Surrey.

The regulator is prosecuting Mr Bootes for failing to comply with two notices issued under Section 72, which require pension schemes, employers and third parties to provide TPR with information and documents relevant to its functions.

A trial will take place at Brighton Magistrates Court on April 14, 2019.

maria.espadinha@ft.com

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