By Ken Maggs, Moore Thompson
Almost half the employers who will have to set up workplace pension schemes for their employees in the next two years are confused about their responsibilities, according to a recent survey by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB).
The business group found that 45 per cent of those polled were unclear about the rules of auto-enrolment and around a quarter were concerned that their business would not be able to cope with the extra cost. Meanwhile, one in four said that they didn’t even know their staging date.
The FSB also found that firms were underestimating the costs of implementing auto-enrolment schemes, with small business owners who had yet to set up schemes estimating overall costs to be, on average, £903, which is far less than the £1,436 average in overall costs reported by businesses that have already introduced workplace pensions.
As a spokesman for the group pointed out, auto-enrolment for small firms is fast approaching and the sooner small business owns get to grips with what they need to do to comply, the better off they will be.
However, The Pensions Regulator (TPR) was insistent that auto-enrolment has been a success so far, with 5.4 million workers having been signed up since 2012. The rules are that all employers, including those who only employ one person, must offer a workplace pension to anyone over the age of 22 and who earns more than £10,000 a year.
The Government is currently running a major advertising campaign featuring a 10ft hairy monster called Workie, which is aimed at ensuring that small business owners are aware of the new rules. The FSB said that such a campaign is vital, given that awareness levels are so low. The group also applauded the improved information on the regulator’s website.