Automatic enrolment: large employers are all in

18 July 2014

The Pensions Regulator’s automatic enrolment: commentary and analysis report 2013-14, published today, shows that 99% of the UK’s largest employers met their legal duties without the need for the regulator to use its statutory powers.

The Pension Regulator’s announcement follows:

Thousands of medium employers are currently reaching their staging dates - when their duties go live - and the regulator has begun sending out letters to the first of the small employers (with less than 50 workers) who are due to automatically enrol their eligible workers next summer.

Charles Counsell, executive director for automatic enrolment at The Pensions Regulator said: “Our aim has been to encourage a proactive compliance culture amongst employers. The past year saw near universal compliance, with many employers actively embracing the changes with innovative communications to ensure their workers understood the benefits of a workplace pension.

“There is plenty of good news, with employers keen to ensure they do things properly and low opt-out rates. But we know there are challenges ahead. We will now continue our work over the months ahead to ensure medium and small employers understand their obligations, comply with their legal duties and continue to view non-compliance by other employers as unacceptable.”

Today’s report highlights the work that the regulator has done in the past 12 months to support the wider pensions industry and those who run workplace pensions. It shows the growing use of defined contribution ‘master trusts’, open to multiple employers, and provides examples of how the regulator has intervened to prevent breaches and ensure that workers receive the pension contributions they are entitled to.

Key points from the report:

  • 10,817 employers completed their declaration of compliance between April 2013 and March 2014 confirming that they had complied with their duties.
  • 785 potential non-compliance cases referred for investigation.
  • Outcome of closed cases: in 78% of cases closed in the period, no further action needed to be taken as the employer became compliant shortly after the regulator’s intervention.
  • 1.2 million unique visits to the automatic enrolment landing page on The Pensions Regulator’s website and more than 115,000 letters sent to employers to ensure they are aware of what they need to do and by when.
  • 24% of employers were using a defined benefit (DB) or hybrid scheme for automatic enrolment, 72% a defined contribution (DC) scheme.
  • 56% of employers who declared using a DC trust based scheme opted for a DC master trust and 51% of eligible jobholders were enrolled into them.
  • 4,590 of employers used postponement, the option available to employers to delay the assessment of their workers by up to three months from their staging date.