THE number of companies fined for failing to enrol staff in workplace pensions has risen dramatically, according to new figures. 

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An increase in enforcement action by the pensions regulator saw more than 3,700 firms issued with penalties between July and September. 

In the previous three months, the figure stood at just 861. 

It takes the overall number of firms issued with compliance notices to 26,000 since auto-enrolment was introduced in 2012 as part of the biggest overhaul of retirement savings in generations. 

All employers are now required to offer pension schemes to staff leading up to April 2019.

Fines of £400 were imposed on 3,728, while a further 576 business were ordered to pay between £50 and £10,000 per day for ignoring warnings.

The latest batch to fall foul of legislation blamed illness, being short-staffed and confusion between them and their payroll administrator.

The regulator said none of the explanations were sufficient for fines to be waived.

Alan Fergusson, Employee Benefits Director of Mattioli Woods, said today: “The fact that the regulator is now starting to lose patience with employers is no surprise.

“As we enter a period where many more smaller employers reach their staging date, the regulator will not allow its course to be altered. These smaller employers must remember that the dates have already been delayed once and it is highly unlikely this will happen again”.

He added: “Many larger employers still have to reach staging date as well. These dates were decided in 2012, so employers who have grown significantly, gone through start up in the last few years, or arrived in the UK for the first time will have to action this as well.

“Mattioli Woods has a range of solutions for auto enrolment to suit any employer. Many of our own clients are staging now and having led over 500 employers through the process we can make this very easy for employers to action”.

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