SMEs unprepared for pensions auto-enrolment

Fewer than half (42%) of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) surveyed have taken concrete steps towards auto-enrolment implementation, according to research by Jelf Employee Benefits.

The Jelf Employee Benefits Auto-enrolment tracker, which surveyed 124 SMEs, found that just 29% of respondents are aware of their staging date.

This compares to 38% in November 2012, 31% in May 2012 and 30% in May 2011.

Steve Herbert, head of benefits strategy at Jelf Employee Benefits, said: “Many small employers have staging dates during the summer of [2014], but many medium-sized employers are much earlier.

“Unless they are making headway already, there may be some sleepless nights ahead for these organisations.

“As the number of employers due to comply with the legislation increases, there will be fewer and fewer consultancies available to provide specialist assistance. The industry is calling this the ‘capacity crunch’, and the only way that employers can ensure this is not an issue for them is to seek guidance at an early stage.

“It’s not too late but it soon could be, and organisations would be wise to remember that there is a risk of financial penalties should an employer fail to comply fully with the new regulations.”