Small or micro-businesses make up 99.3% of businesses in Scotland. These businesses are now facing the daunting task of auto-enrolment. Given that the first fines have been imposed for failing to enrol, the need to be well prepared is clear. The fines were modest and were levied on employers with more than 250 employees, but a fine for a micro-business could be more damaging. 

Research by the Pensions Regulator showed that some pension schemes take account of the size of the company or the value of the account when deciding whether to accept an employer’s pension scheme. Therefore, the decision by the Pensions Regulator to publish on its website a list of pension schemes that will be available to any employer without limits on workplace numbers or pay will be of great assistance. 

Businesses must inform their employees of a number of key issues which are set out on the regulator’s website, and there is a useful staging date tool which will alert employers of the deadline for their company. For companies with 50 to 249 employees, the staging date will probably be before 1 April 2015, so companies that haven’t already auto-enrolled should be looking at this now.

Enforcement action starts with guidance or a warning. If there is further delay, this will be followed by a statutory notice. This is followed with increasing levels of fines, culminating in a civil penalty for failure to comply, at a rate of £50 to £10,000 per day depending on the number of staff.