A report published by the Association of Cycle Traders has highlighted a case in which a high street retailer accrued a fine of more than £40,000 after claiming it was too busy to meet its pension responsibilities.
Johnsons Shoes Company was required to check whether its staff qualified to be put into a workplace pension scheme and to confirm to TPR that it had done so by September 2014; after failing to do so, the shop was given a £400 fine.
The fine reached £40,000 before the company finally became compliant. At that point, Johnsons refused to pay the fine – forcing TPR to take the business to court to secure payment.
Eventually Johnsons agreed to pay the £40,000 fine and £2,000 court costs, preventing the need for a full court hearing on the matter.
TPR’s executive director of automatic enrolment Charles Counsell commented: "The failure by Johnsons to act, despite our repeated warnings, left it with a completely unnecessary bill that was more than 100 times the amount it was originally fined.
"The vast majority of employers meet their automatic enrolment responsibilities. We will use all the powers available to us against the minority who choose to ignore their duties.
"Our message is clear: fail to comply with the law and you may be fined. Fail to pay your fine and we may take you to court."
Employers experiencing challenges in meeting their automatic enrolment duties should contact TPR as early as possible to discuss their situation.Th full report can be found here.