Auto Enrolment - what are the risks for Small Businesses

The end of May saw the phasing in of the next stage of the Government’s auto enrolment scheme. Tens of thousands of firms with fewer than 30 employees have already been phased into the scheme with many more to come over the next two years. Much has been talked about the benefits of auto enrolment, but what exactly are the risks, in particular with regards to small businesses?

First of all, for those businesses still deliberating about which pension provider to go with, you may be running the risk of incurring a fine. Around 27% of small businesses surveyed admitted that they had yet to choose a provider, increasing their risk of being financially penalised. The initial fixed penalty fine is £400, then are served on an escalating scale of £50 - £10,000 per day for failing to comply. 

Once you’ve chosen your pension enquirer, there is the small matter of actually implementing auto enrolment. With 33 tasks to work through, estimated at an incredible 103 man hours, deciding whether to outsource, or choose a staff member to manage in house, small businesses may find the actual implementation as troublesome as finding the right provider.

Auto enrolment has been introduced as a way of helping people save for their old age. But those same people who have just been auto enrolled into your business’s scheme may well have questions about their contributions, projected outcomes, and indeed, the impacts of de-enrolling from the scheme. Some advisors are already warning of the risks of pension freedoms being missold, so how do you ensure that the advice you provide to your employers is transparent and accurate?

If you’re about to start planning for auto enrolment for your business and are concerned about any aspect, feel free to get in touch at email@smithbutler.co.uk