Swindon Town football club fined by Pensions Regulator for non-compliance

The club received fines worth a total of £22,900

Updated: 

A football club has been fined more than £22,000 after repeatedly failing to comply with its workplace pension duties, a regulator has said.

Swindon Town Football Company Limited (STFC) received fines worth a total of £22,900 from the Pensions Regulator after it failed to put eligible workers into a pension scheme under automatic enrolment or comply with other duties.

The regulator said STFC had failed to put eligible staff into a pension scheme from their "staging date" when automatic enrolment started to apply, pay contributions or write to staff explaining how automatic enrolment affected them.

The fine includes daily penalties charged at £2,500 a day and this case marked the first time that the regulator has issued these escalating penalties to an employer for non-compliance.

Employers failing to meet their duties face an initial fixed £400 penalty and the possibility of further fines on top of that if they continue to fail to comply. As of December last year, more than 1,500 fixed penalties had been issued, along with 31 escalating penalty notices.

STFC was issued with a compliance notice on August 18 2014 directing it to automatically enrol staff and pay contributions but failed to comply by the deadline of October 17 2014, the regulator said.

The Pensions Regulator said there were several further delays in the employer complying with its duties, and as a result the focus turned towards enforcement action.

The regulator said STFC is now complying with its duties and staff who were eligible for automatic enrolment have been put in the same position they would have been had they been enrolled when this was meant to happen.

The fine of £22,900, which included an initial £400 fixed penalty notice, was settled in full on February 16 2016.

STFC is classed as a medium-sized employer and this meant daily penalties were charged at £2,500 a day. Smaller employers would face smaller daily penalties, for example those with up to four workers would pay £50 a day for repeated non-compliance.

Charles Counsell, executive director of automatic enrolment at the regulator, said: "This case illustrates what can happen when an employer buries their head in the sand and disregards their duties.

"If things aren't going well, then talk to us; don't ignore us.

"Failing to comply on time will not save you money. Not only do you risk a fine, you will also have to make backdated contributions."

Automatic enrolment into workplace pensions started in 2012 with the largest firms, which tend to have more experience of pensions. Smaller firms are currently being brought on board the scheme, which is intended to encourage workers to save more for their retirement.

So far, more than six million workers have been automatically enrolled into a workplace pension.

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