Small firms warned about potential pension problem

Bradford accountant Watson Buckle is reminding small businesses that they face large fines for not sticking to new staff pension rules.

Around half a million UK employers with fewer than 30 employees will be required to enrol eligible staff into a pension – and start paying into it – this year. All employers have been given an automatic enrolment date, called a ‘staging date’, and this is the date by which they must ensure workers are signed up.

But Watson Buckle fears that many SMEs won’t give themselves enough time. As a result, many of Britain’s businesses could be subject to fixed penalties of £400, daily fines of £50 to £500, and even prosecution.

Susan Sedgwick, MD at Bradford-based accountants Watson Buckle, said: “Employers should start planning around one year before their staging date, and I would recommend that they visit our website for guidance.

“It is all too easy to put it off but this is an issue that cannot be overlooked. There will be thousands of employers needing to meet their workplace pension duties in 2016 and so it makes sense to approach a trusted firm for advice in plenty of time. We don’t want to see anyone pay a fine that could be avoided by simply planning ahead.”