Enforcement action against small businesses who fail to comply with pension auto-enrolment requirements has risen by 306%, data from The Pensions Regulator (TPR) has revealed.
The Regulator used its enforcement powers on a total of 8,812 occasions between April 2015 and March 2016, the data revealed.
6,241 compliance notices were issued, whilst 2,002 fixed penalty notices were handed out to small businesses.
Employers are required to automatically enrol eligible workers into a pension scheme, and must make a minimum level of contributions or provide a minimum level of benefits in the case of defined benefit schemes.
Auto-enrolment deadlines have been coming into force gradually: deadlines for large companies (those who employ 250 employees or more) began in 2012, while deadlines for medium-sized companies (employing 50 to 249 employees) began in 2014.
Deadlines for small (five to 49 employees) and micro-enterprises (employing one to four employees) began in 2015 and will continue until 2018.
Charles Counsell, executive director for auto-enrolment at TPR, stated: ‘Our key challenge in the past year has been to engage hundreds of thousands of small and micro-employers and to help them prepare for automatic enrolment.
‘We needed to target these employers in new and innovative ways. The hard work and commitment of the many organisations who support employers – from trade bodies to employer representative bodies – has made a huge difference.’