1 in 7 businesses miss their workplace pension start date

19 January 2017

New figures from Aviva have revealed that a growing number of companies are risking a fine by failing to set up their workplace pension in time.

During Q4, 2016:

  • 1 in 7 (14%) of businesses applying to Aviva for a workplace pension made their application after their staging date had passed
  • More than a third of businesses (38%) left their application to the last minute
  • Just under half of companies (48%) prepared for auto-enrolment well in advance.

Around 500,000 UK businesses are due to set up a pension scheme during 2017 under auto-enrolment legislation.

However, Aviva’s own client data, from its second auto-enrolment application tracker, shows that during Q4 of 2016, 1 in 7 companies that applied to set up their pension with Aviva had missed their staging date – the date by which they should have had a workplace pension scheme in place, which is set by The Pension Regulator (TPR).

In a worrying trend, the proportion of firms applying with Aviva that missed their staging date has increased rapidly during the course of 2016, from just 1% in Q1 to 14% in Q4. However, during this time the volume of companies setting up workplace pensions has also increased offering some explanation for the rapid growth of ‘late stagers’.

Figures from The Pensions Regulator show that the number of employers failing to fulfil their auto-enrolment duties is rising. In Q3 2016, 3,728 fixed penalty notices for £400 each were issued; up from just 861 in Q2, 2016.

While the number of companies missing their staging date has been increasing, the number of firms preparing for auto-enrolment two months or more in advance is staying relatively stable (47% - 57%).