Small employers not prepared for auto-enrolment

The majority of small and micro-employers have not set up a workplace pension scheme ahead of their auto-enrolment staging dates, according to research by the National Employment Savings Trust (NEST).

Around 45,000 small and micro companies will pass their staging dates between April and December 2015, while in 2016 and 2017 more than half a million will stage each year.

However, the study by the state-backed pension provider found that 83% of small and micro employers still do not have a workplace scheme set up.

Less than one-fifth (18%) say they understand what the reforms will mean for their business in practical terms, despite 91% of small employers and 85% of micro employers claiming that they're aware of the reforms.

The businesses surveyed were asked whether they are planning to seek advice ahead of their staging dates:

  • 74% said they will get support from an intermediary
  • of those, 59% said they will go to an accountant for advice
  • 70% of employers with 4 members of staff or less will talk to an accountant.

Tim Jones, chief executive of the NEST, said:

"Until now, auto-enrolment has just not added up for accountants - the duties so far have only fallen on large employers that typically may not have turned to accountants for pension advice.

"2015 is the year that all changes. Thousands of small and micro employers will enrol their workers in a pension scheme and our research shows that many will look to accountants for help. Our experience with employers so far tells us that the role of intermediaries is critical."

Are you a small or micro employer? Talk to us about preparing for your staging date.