Third of auto-enrolled employers would approach compliance differently

More than a third (35%) of respondents that have been through pensions auto-enrolment would have approached their preparations differently if they were to undertake the task again, according to research by law firm Irwin Mitchell.

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Its research, which surveyed 260 employers, found that 52% of those that have staged wished they had given themselves more time to prepare for the legislation.

The same proportion of respondents cited ongoing administration and ensuring that their back office systems were ready as being the two most difficult aspects of auto-enrolment compliance.

A third (33%) have taken on extra staff in order to deal with the additional administration.

From 1 April 2014, organisations with between 160 and 249 employees reached their auto-enrolment staging dates.

Among respondents from small organisations, which had yet to auto-enrol employees, 28% believed they will struggle with an ongoing administrative burden, while less than 5% thought finding a suitable pension product would be an issue. 

Nigel Bolton (pictured), pensions partner at Irwin Mitchell, said: “Larger organisations that have already staged found, and continue to find, the process a lot more challenging than they expected, while smaller organisations are underestimating what the true impact of auto-enrolment will be. 

“We conducted an earlier survey in 2013 to see how prepared small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) were for auto-enrolment, and the overall finding was that a number had not considered many of the key issues.

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“Sadly, this still appears to be the case. Many larger organisations said they regret their approach to auto-enrolment and wished they had given themselves more time.

“I have major concerns that the impact will soon be felt by SMEs and because they do not have the back-office teams and systems that their larger counterparts have, the impact could be considerable.”