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While the year 2017 seems a long way off, time has a habit of creeping up on you faster than you think. By October 2017, all UK businesses, regardless of size, must provide all their workers with access to a workplace pension, automatically enroll certain of these workers and pay a contribution on their behalf. The Pensions Act 2008 established these new auto enrolment duties for UK employers and they came into effect from October 2012.

The employer duties are being introduced in stages from October 2012 starting with the larger employers and working through to the smaller end of the market. To date the number of employers who have reached their staging date b the date when the legal duties to enroll certain workers into a qualifying scheme begin b is relatively small but numbers will soon ramp up significantly as we approach the smaller end of the market.

Smaller employers with 50 lives or less start hitting their auto enrolment staging dates from 2015 onwards. Understandably, the prospect of meeting all these new duties and the associated costs involved has not been warmly welcomed by many and the vast majority seem content to ignore the problem for as long as they can.

Unfortunately lack of action may ultimately make the position even more unpalatable, as options become more limited and sources of help ever more difficult to find thereby increasing the prospect of falling foul of the regulator and incurring significant financial penalties.

As with all things, advance planning will help immensely; most industry professionals recommend starting the process well in advance of staging normally at least 18 months beforehand but in truth it is never too early to start. Furthermore the importance of getting the right type of advice from industry professionals cannot be overstated! A decision to take action sooner rather than later could prove to be one of your best decisions for both you and your business.

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