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Be Prepared for Auto-Enrolment

Banks Sheridan Accountants

Banks Sheridan is forewarning small and medium sized businesses across Cheshire and Staffordshire to get prepared for Auto Enrolment.  Between February and May ‘The Pensions Regulator’ is sending letters to all employers that haven’t staged and have a legal duty to do so.  The letter states the ‘staging date’ and asks the employer to nominate a ‘key contact’.

Banks Sheridan director, David Morris explains: “this letter is very important and must be kept safely as it contains crucial reference numbers. The ‘staging date’ is when the employer’s duties to make pension contributions into the employee’s scheme become active. The ‘key contact’ is responsible for managing the process on behalf of the company and can be someone within the organisation or external, such as the accountant.”

Auto Enrolment has been designed to encourage more individuals to start saving for retirement by making employers and the government (by providing tax relief) contribute alongside employees into a workplace pension.

David Morris adds: “amongst the largest pension reforms in more than a century, Auto Enrolment represents a great deal of work for employers who now need to find the time as well as administrative and cash resources to meet their responsibilities.”

Staging dates have generally been introduced in an order based on businesses with higher numbers of employees. In 2015, about 45,000 companies are lined up to auto enrol staff. This increases to an average of 50,000 per month in 2016 but with an estimated 1.2 million employers due to stage over the next three years the ability of employers and pension providers to meet these commitments will be tested.

David Morris comments: “It’s vital for all firms in the local area to make sure they are ready for their staging date. Every employer has a date, which is now set and it’s best to give yourself plenty of time and put plans in place now – this way, you’ll avoid penalties too.”

“Ideally, we’d recommend companies plan a year ahead of their staging date as there’s a lot that needs to be done before auto-enrolment can start. Employers must assess: staff eligibility for Auto Enrolment, the best computer software and which pension scheme will work best for them and their staff.”

“There is a myriad of compliance rules to follow and those businesses who don’t prepare now and aren’t ready for Auto Enrolment face an initial £400 fine and the risk of further escalating penalties. The Pensions Regulator has already issued fines to employers failing to comply with their Auto Enrolment duties – and we want to make sure this doesn’t happen to companies in Staffordshire and Cheshire.”

David Morris concludes: “there is a strict obligation on companies to ensure their staff is correctly assessed and the right amount is paid into the pension scheme on time; employees need to do nothing.”

To find out more about the Auto Enrolment services Banks Sheridan provides,

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