If you already know your staging date and know that you have missed it, the first thing to remember is don’t panic.
In most cases this is not a big problem, it depends how late you are and how much time has passed. If it’s only a couple of months, there are some simple steps to take to get organised. If a few months have passed, you may have a fine to pay, in which case it’s best to contact The Pensions Regulator to find out what you need to do. If you are more than five months passed your original staging date The Pensions Regulator will know that you’re late. This is because you will not have completed a Declaration of Compliance. This is a compliance confirmation that you can complete online with The Pensions Regulator, or if you use software, like Paycircle, will get completed automatically for you. The Declaration of Compliance is how you confirm that you are compliant, which pension scheme you have chosen and who was automatically enrolled at the start. The deadline for this is five months after your staging date. The deadline is always five months, even if you chose to use postponement.
If you have missed your staging date the main thing that The Pensions Regulator wants you to do is make the situation as if you hadn’t missed your staging date. This involves setting up a pension and looking back to the time of your staging date and enrolling everyone who would have been enrolled from that point onwards. You also need to make up the missed contributions. If you are planning to use the minimum contribution amounts set by the pensions regulator, you need to be mindful of the dates of the percentages changes up until April 2019. The Pensions Regulator do not insist that this is done with 100% accuracy, they just want to see that you have made your best attempt to put people in the same position that they would have been in had you not missed the staging date.
On a practical level, getting to this position involves setting up a compliant pension and enrolling everyone who would have been from the staging date until now on the current set contribution rates as a minimum.
You then have to calculate what contributions would have been made that have been missed. You can normally make these as a one-off contribution to each person’s pension fund. Some companies choose to make the employees contributions on their behalf. If the employees are paying in to catch up themselves, you can ask them to pay in one lump or stretch it out over a period of time if that makes things easier. There are tax implications for one-off payments to rectify the position, as the contributions have not been deducted through the PAYE system. If you are unsure or having difficulty working out what to contribute to catch up, contact The Pensions Regulator for advice.