The Pensions Regulator has said employers “have more to do" to meet their workplace pension duties, ensuring contributions are up to date and savers are re-enrolled into schemes.
In a blog post, published today (November 23), Mel Charles, director of automatic enrolment at TPR, said re-enrolment gave savers who opted out of their workplace pension a “fresh opportunity” to start saving.
Under current rules anyone who opts out of their scheme will be re-enrolled automatically three years later.
Since the start of automatic enrolment, more than 1m employers have completed their re-declaration of compliance showing the regulator they have met their re-enrolment responsibility.
Charles said: “Re-enrolment must be carried out by employers every three years within the three months either side of their original duties start date.
“Once employers have done this, they must complete their re-declaration of compliance. We will write to employers to remind them about their ongoing duties and there is an online step by step guide for employers."
Charles also said re-enrolment gave employers a prompt to check that they are paying the right amount of contributions into the scheme.
He warned those who do not complete re-enrolment on time will be issued with a compliance notice, which will set a deadline for action.
Charles added: “Failing to comply will lead to a fixed or escalating penalty notice.
“We know many employers are navigating challenging times and our goal is to support them by being clear about their duties. However, as we work to put the saver at the heart of all we do as a regulator, we will act where necessary to protect staff.”
In June 2020, when the country was in lockdown, the work and pensions committee urged TPR to consider helping workers re-enrol sooner than the current three-year timeframe.
MPs saw this as important as many savers may have left their auto-enrolment pension during the crisis as a result of suffering financial difficulties.
Charles said TPR is also keeping a close eye on the gig economy which is set to grow even more as the UK and businesses recover from the Covid-19 pandemic.
“It is only right that workers who contribute to the economy have the opportunity to save for retirement,” Charles said.
He added: “We are calling on all employers in the gig economy to step up and do the right thing for their staff. We want to see employers in all sectors comply with their responsibilities voluntarily and promptly.
“We work to ensure all savers are protected – no matter what sector they work in and we will take enforcement action to ensure staff receive the pensions they are entitled to.”
A landmark Supreme Court case in March ruled that Uber must classify its drivers as ‘workers’, therefore entitling them to be auto-enrolled into a pension scheme.
Drivers will be auto-enrolled in a pension scheme provided by master trust Now Pensions, with Uber set to contribute 3 per cent of a driver’s earnings into the pot, and drivers contributing a minimum of 5 per cent of qualifying earnings. Payments will be backdated as far as 2017.