The Pensions Regulator has warned tens of thousands of small and micro employers they must start preparing for their Automatic Enrolment duties.
New research published by the regulator shows that while levels of awareness of automatic enrolment ‘remain high’ among all employers, more than 20% of those due to start Automatic Enrolment between June and November this year had not yet drawn up plans to meet their requirements.
Every employer is given a date set in law when their duties start – this is known as their staging date.
The regulator has recommended that employers should start preparing for Automatic Enrolment 12 months ahead of their date.
The regulator’s employer survey, which was carried out in November last year, showed that more employers are aware of their staging date thanks to letters sent by the regulator alerting them to their duties.
The research stated that eight in ten smaller medium and small employers have consulted an adviser, or will do so.
The research also shows a near universal level of awareness of the AE reforms among intermediaries, while most also understood the key elements of the reforms.
That was a step very much welcomed by the regulator, as more employers say they will depend on intermediaries to comply with their duties.
However, the survey also indicated that accountants and bookkeepers continue to have the lowest level of understanding about Automatic Enrolment.
Charles Counsell, executive director for Automatic Enrolment, said: “While it is encouraging to see that awareness of Automatic Enrolment is improving, there are still too many employers failing to identify their staging date.
“As hundreds of thousands of small and micro employers prepare to stage in the next two years, we cannot be complacent.
“The regulator’s direct communication to employers is having a major impact and we are launching new online material as part of our educate and enable approach to help employers meet their duties. We will be writing to all employers in the coming months and so when a brown envelope from The Pensions Regulator arrives, employers should open it as it will advise on when their staging date is.
“We know from the research that employers will turn to advisers for help in meeting their duties and so I am encouraged to see that awareness among intermediaries is almost universal, but there is scope for better knowledge and understanding.”