The Pensions Regulator (TPR) has renewed its call for small and micro employers to ensure they are complying with their auto-enrolment (AE) obligations.
The warning follows the watchdog revealing it has markedly increased the use of its powers to push small employers into fulfilling their AE duties.
It issued 3,392 compliance notes between April and June this year, it said in its latest quarterly compliance and enforcement bulletin published on 29 July. This accounts for 30.6% of all 11,099 compliance notes issued since AE was introduced in 2012.
Across all of its powers, including fixed penalty and unpaid contribution notices, 30% (4,489) of occasions where the watchdog has used its powers (15,005) were within the three month period.
The watchdog also used its formal powers on 8,812 occasions between April 2015 and March 2016, 306% times more than the previous period, according to its annual commentary and analysis released on 27 July.
It stressed the increased use of its powers is expected as a large number of small and micro employers are brought into the AE regime.
Executive director for AE Charles Counsell advised small businesses to check TPR's website for guidance.
"While the vast majority of employers are complying with the law, some small employers are still risking fines by failing to understand how it affects them.
"We provide clear, simple information on our website. There is a duties checker which is designed to help small and micro employers understand just what actions they need to take based on their circumstances and those of their staff.
"We recognise all employers are different - but the law is still the law. Don't risk a fine, look out for a letter from us, take time to read the essential guide we send out to all employers with this letter and come to TPR's website for all the information and guidance you need."
The regulator's latest note points to a case study where a small travel agent with one employee was fined £400 for not complying with AE, despite being issued with a compliance notice and fixed penalty notice. The small business had assumed the new requirements did not yet apply to them and did not understand the staging date.
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