More than 40,000 companies were issued fines for failing to meet auto-enrolment (AE) obligations in 2018, The Pensions Regulator (TPR) has confirmed.
In its response to a Freedom of Information request to New Model Adviser, the regulator said 40,301 companies were hit with compliance penalties during the year, with a further 41,057 avoiding fines after making recommended amendments.
The regulator currently issues penalties when companies have failed to correct issues flagged in preliminary compliance warnings.
Penalties can cover a range of non-compliance issues including failing to enrol or re-enrol employees by given deadlines, and not paying contributions on time.
So far this year, 33,529 companies handed warnings have made the necessary changes to their AE obligations to avoid a fine.
A total of 20,298 employers have been handed penalities for AE failures between 1 January and 30 September 2019, however.
Aegon head of pensions Kate Smith said the regulator is taking a "forensic approach" to dealing with non-compliant companies.
She said: "The volume of fines being issued indicates TPR is taking a tough stance on non-compliance and although the vast majority of employers are doing the right thing, there continues to be this small minority failing to take AE seriously."
"Eligible workers have a legal right to an employer's pension contribution" she added. "The AE system will only work in the long-run if all employers comply with the law, enabling workers to build up long-term savings."
This week’s top stories included the rejection of an automatic guidance amendment in the Pension Schemes Bill, while The Pensions Regulator posted a sharp increase in the use of its powers.
The majority of the pensions industry agrees an eventual net-zero target should not be mandated for schemes as part of the Pension Schemes Bill, according to a Professional Pensions poll.
Local Pension Partnership Administration (LPPA) has become the latest organisation to join the Pension Scams Industry Group (PSIG) forum.
Two-thirds of UK fund managers are reducing investments in companies that fail on diversity and inclusion scores, according to a survey by Edelman.
England and Wales have seen a fourth successive week of increasing excess death figures as the countries battle through the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic.