At this stage in the auto enrolment process, it's interesting to sit back and think just how many businesses are yet to stage, what sort of businesses these are and what their attitude to auto enrolment is.
It's actually quite difficult to ascertain the exact number of businesses yet to stage. Over half a million new businesses are thought to have been started since April 2012 which means that with around 1.3 million existing micro, small and medium sized employers yet to stage, we could be looking at just under 2 million businesses who are yet to go through the auto enrolment process.
That's quite a lot and within that number there will be a plethora of business types and attitudes to the auto enrolment process. There will be businesses that employ a number of employees and work from their own premises. There will be small, flexible home-based businesses and there lots of people who simply employ a nanny or a cleaner and are now classed as an employer for pension purposes. There'll be lots of other types of businesses too, some being advised on auto enrolment, some not and there will be a lot of different opinions on the auto enrolment process itself.
The latest figures indicate that 30% of small businesses yet to stage are aware of their obligations under auto enrolment. That means 70% aren't aware, which is quite a worry, although it is hoped that as their staging date gets nearer they will make the effort to engage with the issue of pensions auto enrolment. We'll possibly see four types of employer merge:
- Those who are fully aware of their obligations and will fully comply with their auto enrolment duties.
- Those who will fully comply with their auto enrolment obligations but at the last minute or even late.
- Those who will be fined for not doing anything to comply with auto enrolment due to being unaware/burying their head in the sand.
- Those who will deliberately not comply with auto enrolment legislation and will face the inevitable consequences.
As small businesses staging dates get nearer, let's hope that more businesses engage with the issue and fulfil their auto enrolment obligations.