UK watchdog to set up auto-enrolment whistle-blowing facility
UK - The UK Pensions Regulator is to set up a whistle-blowing facility as part of its newly published strategy for making sure all employers comply with auto-enrolment.
In addition to a fixed £400 (€496) fine, employers could face escalating daily penalties if they avoid the new legal duty to put staff into a workplace pension scheme unless they opt out.
These daily fines would be set at the level of the cash flow benefit the company would get by not complying, the regulator said as it set out its compliance and enforcement strategy and policy.
Bill Galvin, chief executive at the Pensions Regulator, said: "Every employer needs to play their part to make these pension reforms work, and our goal is to make that task as straightforward as possible.
"For those that do not engage, however, we want to make it clear there are consequences."
As well as being required to auto-enrol, the regulator said that, from July, all employers will be banned from offering staff incentives to opt out of an auto-enrolment pension.
This will include refusing to employ someone because they want to join the company pension scheme.
Where it finds evidence of this behaviour, the regulator said it would consider using powers against employers.
"To help detect behaviour of this sort, the regulator will provide a whistle-blowing facility, through which confidential reports of suspected non-compliance can be made," it said.
The organisation said it would provide details in early July of how and when whistle-blowing reports could be made.
Auto-enrolment duties are being introduced this year for large UK companies and will encompass all employers by 2017.
The companies will sign certain workers up for a qualifying pension scheme, paying employer and employee payments into the plan, unless the individual actively opts out.