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More auto-enrolment fines to come, warn experts

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Employers who do not take pensions regulations could face more fines for not complying with auto-enrolment within the set timeframes, according to pensions experts.

The Pensions Regulator (TPR) this week issued the first fines for employers who have failed to meet auto-enrolment requirements.

Three small employers have each been fined £400 for a breach in compliance, although the exact nature of the breaches has not been revealed.

Jelf Employee Benefits head of benefits strategy Steve Herbert said that although the initial fines are "modest", they should serve as a warning for other employers currently implementing auto-enrolment.

"It has taken a little longer than expected, but finally the jaws of regulation are closing on those employers who have failed to meet their auto-enrolment legal duties," he said.

"So employers would be well advised to check and ensure that they have fulfilled their duties at the earliest opportunity. This is important as the industry is very aware that many auto-enrolment stagers in the last few months have 'gone missing', so there are potentially lots of breaches to be uncovered yet."

Johnson Fleming consultancy director Iain Chadwick added there is likely to be an "upward trend" in the number of businesses fined for non-compliance.

"I think this is just the tip of the iceberg for employers, who now face mounting pressure from the governing authority to avoid breaches and ensure the ongoing auditing and compliance of qualifying pensions," he said.