Employers who are failing to meet their auto-enrolment obligations are being targeted with mandatory short-notice inspections by The Pensions Regulator (TPR).
From 15 May 2019, and continuing through the summer, TPR will use data to detect employers who are suspected of breaking workplace pension rules.
These require businesses to enrol staff who are aged between 22 and state pension age, and earn more than £10,000 a year, into a workplace pension scheme.
For the 2019/20 tax year, employers must contribute a minimum of 3% of the staff member's qualifying earnings, while the employee must make up the remainder to a combined minimum of 8%.
Employers who fail to put qualifying staff in a pension scheme, make incorrect pension contributions, or make no contributions at all could face fines or court action.
TPR has also warned that obstructing the inspection or refusing to provide information will be treated as a criminal offence.
Darren Ryder, director of auto-enrolment at TPR, said:
"We know the vast majority of employers are doing the right thing for their staff, however, there are a small minority who persistently ignore their responsibilities.
"They can expect a knock at the door from us and enforcement action."
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