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Auto-enrolment staging date unknown to many employers

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Almost two thirds of small and micro employers don’t know when they need to start complying with auto-enrolment, according to research by The Pensions Regulator.

Just 38% of employers know when their staging date is despite two thirds (67%) claiming to have accurate knowledge.

8 in 10 businesses staging between August and November 2015 provided accurate answers when asked about when their staging dates are. This number fell dramatically for employers with later staging dates, with 29% of firms staging between January and November 2016 getting their staging date right.

Despite this, the biannual survey found that the overall awareness of auto-enrolment increased substantially among micro employers from the last survey conducted in autumn 2014:

  • 77% of micro employers are aware of auto-enrolment compared to 65% in autumn 2014
  • awareness among small employers rose slightly (88% in spring 2015 compared to 86%$ in autumn 2014).


  • 95% of employers staging between August and November 2014 were aware of their responsibilities
  • 78% of those staging between January and November 2016 knew about auto-enrolment
  • 81% of January to April 2017 stagers understood the staging process.

Charles Counsell, executive director of auto-enrolment at The Pensions Regulator, said:

“It is encouraging that, according to our latest research, most small and micro employers due to stage this year are well underway with their preparations, but there is no room for complacency.

“The challenge of ensuring 1.8 million employers meet their duties by 2018 is significant and the research shows many employers are still not preparing early enough.

“We continue to develop new tools on our website to simplify the process for employers and we are using a diverse range of communications to reach out to employers, but my message to employers remains clear: start getting your plans in place or you risk a financial penalty.”

Talk to us about complying with auto-enrolment.