SKL Recruitment charged for false claims relating to auto-enrolment

15 November 2019

As reported in News On Line back in August 2019,  SKL Recruitment were due to be prosecuted by The Pensions Regulator (TPR) for actively avoiding enrolling their staff into a workplace pension and paying contributions into a scheme.

The recruitment agency has pleaded guilty to making false claims regarding the auto-enrolment of 22 employees into a workplace pension scheme. The company appeared at Brighton Magistrates’ Court on 13 November 2019 where the plea was made and will be sentenced on 17 December 2019.

The company’s managing director, Linus Kadzere pleaded guilty to three charges of wilfully failing to comply with employee automatic-enrolment duties under sections 45 and 46 of the Pensions Act 2008, and knowingly or recklessly providing false information to TPR under section 80 of the Pensions Act 2004.

Whistleblowing reports were made by staff which led to TPR’s discovery that the company was not complying with its auto-enrolment obligations. TPR conducted an investigation which, along with statements from the company’s employees, proved that although the pension scheme had been set up, no employees has been enrolled and deductions that were being taken from staff pay were not being transferred across to that scheme.

TPR issued a press release, in which the Director of Automatic Enrolment, Darren Ryder said ““Staff who are eligible for automatic enrolment trust their employer to do the right thing so they are given the opportunity to save. TPR will not stand by if an employer does not meet their responsibilities and we will take action to make sure workers get the pensions they are entitled to.While the majority of employers do the right thing, Mr Kadzere misled TPR to cover up that he was deliberately denying his staff the pensions they are due. That is a serious offence which we will not tolerate.”

CIPP comment

 Employers need to ensure that they are complying with the legislation surrounding auto-enrolment. Sanctions for non-compliance can range from unlimited fines to prison time so it is essential to get it right. The CIPP offers a classroom learning based course – ‘Automatic enrolment and pensions for payroll’ which provides knowledge and skills relating to this area. The next course is due to run on 29 November 2019 in Bristol.

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