Business leaders are still in the dark on auto enrolment

According to new research from Creative Auto Enrolment a mere 15 per cent of businesses who have to comply with the legislation in the next 12 months say that they feel well qualified to manage auto enrolment preparations. This leaves thousands of businesses at risk of crippling fines which can hit £2,500 per day.

Businesses need to tick off 33 different tasks to comply with the legislation according to Creative Auto Enrolment, yet at least 40 per cent of decision makers in 505 businesses admit to being in the dark on each and every task. Company decision makers are most concerned about the huge responsibility burden of planning for their employees’ financial futures; two thirds say that choosing a pension provider and plan for employees’ savings is one of the tasks worrying them the most.

Yet it’s not just the more complex parts of the process that are proving difficult. Despite the fact that every single business in the UK must comply with this legislation, more than half are completely in the dark when it comes to the most simple task – determining when they need to be auto enrolment ready. Asked about their staging date, more than a quarter admit that they couldn’t do this without seeking advice, one in 10 didn’t realise they had to do it and 15 per cent say they don’t even know what it is.

David White, Managing Director of Creative Auto Enrolment, said: “It’s now 18 months since the first employers staged but it’s clear from these findings that lessons are not being learned. But unfortunately it’s not a surprise – we are getting calls on a regular basis from companies who are completely unprepared for their staging dates – or have even missed them.”

“Auto enrolment is one of the biggest legislative changes that employers have had to deal with for years, and a massive burden for business owners, yet the government has just not provided adequate support. Businesses yet to stage need to ensure that auto enrolment is firmly on their radar screens to avoid the hefty fines associated with non-compliance – the last thing that business owners will want to face as we’re finally on the road to economic recovery.”

An overall lack of understanding is the biggest barrier to complying, cited by more than one in three. This is followed by a lack of resources and time. Over half of those surveyed estimate that preparing for their staging date has taken, or will take, over 10 weeks in terms of the man hours involved.