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My client is ignoring auto enrolment, advice please.

My client is ignoring auto enrolment, advice...

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I have a client who refuses to acknowledge their auto enrolment duties. They have just one eligible employee, so the cost is minimal. I have spoken and written to them on numerous occasions, outlining their legal obligations and subsequent fines for non compliance, but they continue to take the ‘bury your head’ approach. They are of the opinion that they can ignore AE and get away with it. I can only hope they will change their stance when that penalty notice comes through the door from TPR, by which point it will be a nightmare trying to roll everything back.

Has anyone else experienced the same issue or had a client miss their staging date? Any tips for the rest of my clients that are due to stage later this year?

Thank you.

Replies (8)

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By ChrisScullard
19th Apr 2016 18:00

I've not had a client who has taken this approach, but ultimately it's not your responsibility, it's his.  All you can do is make sure he is aware of what he should be doing and the potential implications of not doing it (unless you decide you should report this to TPR - not sure if you have a responsibility to do that or not).

I'd also want to make sure it's crystal clear that he knows that you've made him aware of everything.  In time, assuming he gets a large penalty and the brown stuff hits the fan, you need to make sure your backside is covered.

Clients like this will generally decide it's your fault when this happens, so ideally I'd want an email from him acknowledging your advice.  Of course this may not be possible.

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By Kazmc
19th Apr 2016 14:25

I would probably send a recorded letter outlining his responsibilities and the consequences of not complying, not much more you can do really. I'm already sick and tired of chasing clients and we have only staged around 25 so far, another 125 or so to go!

The worst one I have had so far is a client not accepting the T&C's on a pension scheme and therefore not having a pension scheme in place until after the first deductions had been taken from salary!

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By lionofludesch
19th Apr 2016 14:34

Big stick

I've only had one - more dragging their feet than wilful default.

Eventually TPR comes along with a big stick, following which progress is made.

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Euan's picture
By Euan MacLennan
19th Apr 2016 14:39

One page guidance

One of the major problems with workplace pensions is the apparent complexity of the rules, which has not been helped by TPR's dire threats of penalties for failing to comply with the law (Pensions Act 2008).  Even the TPR's Duties Checker is long winded.  This puts off some clients from even addressing the issue.

I would prepare a one-page summary of the practical requirements and send it to clients about 3 months before their staging date (on the grounds that many clients who are yet to stage will be exempt director-only companies and those who do need to enrol a few workers will be content to use NEST, so not much planning work is required).  As Chris says, emphasise in your covering letter or e-mail that it is his responsibility and his alone to comply with the law and to let you know if he wants your assistance.  If the client cannot be bothered to read one page of practical guidance on the AE requirements and to act on it, it is up to him.

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By dnicholson
19th Apr 2016 15:53

"... the apparent complexity of the rules ..."

So it's just me that doesn't understand it all :)

Don't worry, TPR will fix it for a fee.

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By SteveHa
19th Apr 2016 16:01

I'm simply adopting a targeted campaign. Where staging is within the next 6 months, they get my letter telling them what they have to do, and pointing out the certain death at the hands of the KKK followed by an eternity in hell being repeatedly eaten and regurgitated by foul breathed demons if they don't comply.

The client I least expected to pay attention has even been in touch to check everything is on track and what he needs to do now.

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By Willwo01
19th Apr 2016 19:54

Don't forget your time when you are asked to ...
Rectify the late compliance. I would make it crystal clear that when this time arises they will also have your enhanced bill to pay for too. Unless of course you're willing to do it for free which I wouldn't advocate.

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By Alex_T
20th Apr 2016 10:05

Thank you!

Thank you all for the great advice. I agree wholeheartedly with all your comments. I am sure I am not the first to have this problem, and certainly won't the last.

Recorded letter is on the way. Here's hoping they see sense soon. 

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