The Pensions Regulator today published its first auto-enrolment section 89 report, warning employers struggling to meet their auto-enrolment duties to raise the issue with them sooner rather than later.
The report sets out problems experienced by Dunelm Soft Furnishing Ltd and the action taken by the regulator. The company's staging date was April 2013, but it did not stage until August. It also failed to update the TPR with a progress report in July, as all companies are required to do.
Several breaches were highlighted: the company failed to enrol members of the four-weekly payroll on time and failed to enrol certain members of the monthly payroll on time. These breaches occurred due to the company having staffing issues and problems with its payroll system, TPR noted.
Subsequently, Dunelm paid outstanding contributions into the pension scheme of approximately £108,000, TPR said. The company is now fully compliant with its auto-enrolment duties.
TPR said employers should start planning for auto-enrolment 12 months ahead of their staging date. Drawing lessons from the Dunelm case, TPR said companies must have sound corporate governance and test their payroll systems.
Charles Counsell, TPR executive director for automatic enrolment, said he would urge all employers to take heed from the lessons learned here so that they avoid the same pitfalls.
'This section 89 report shows that we will use the powers we have been given to take enforcement action where it is appropriate to do so.'
A Dunelm spokesman said: '[The company] has been open, forthcoming and fully co-operative with the regulator whilst we endeavoured to address these issues as quickly as possible.
'The regulator has confirmed that we are now fully compliant with our automatic enrolment duties. We have also reviewed our internal systems to ensure these issues do not happen again.'