The Pensions Regulator (TPR) has begun carrying out spot checks across the East Midlands to make sure employers are complying with their pension duties.
Inspection teams will visit dozens of businesses in Nottingham, Derby and Leicester this month to check employers are meeting their automatic enrolment (AE) duties correctly.
The move is part of a nationwide enforcement campaign that began in London last spring and has so far been carried out in Greater Manchester, Sheffield, Birmingham, South Wales, Edinburgh and Glasgow.
According to TPR, the checks help the regulator to understand whether employers are facing unnecessary challenges they can be helped with. The campaign also reveals employers who have not taken the required steps to become or remain compliant, paving the way for enforcement action.
Minimum AE contributions are set to increase from the current 2% of qualifying earnings to 5% on 6 April 2018. The base level will then rise again to 8% in 2019.
'Not an option, it's the law'
TPR director of AE Darren Ryder said that, while the vast majority of employers were compliant, the visits helped TPR identify why some may be struggling.
"Automatic enrolment is not an option, it's the law," he added. "Where we find employers are not complying, we will use our powers to ensure they comply so staff receive the pensions they are entitled to."
Nearly one million employers across the UK have met their automatic enrolment duties, with more than nine million workers given workplace pensions as a result.
TPR data to the end of December 2017 revealed 1,750 employers in Derby, 3,220 employers in Nottingham and 2,820 employers in Leicester have met their automatic enrolment duties. As a result, 125,000 staff in those areas have been put into a workplace pension.
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