More auto-enrolment deadlines are being missed as emphasis shifts to Britain's smaller businesses

Oliver Gill
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Auto-enrolment has been championed by the government as a way of managing Britain's aging population (Source: Getty)

More of Britain's companies are missing deadlines for setting up auto-enrolment platforms than ever before, new research has revealed.

Firms are obliged to sign employees up to a workplace pension at certain "staging dates". The government initially focussed on mandating larger firms to auto-enrol workers, with only a long tail of smaller companies now yet to sign up.

But according to Aviva, which used its own application data to compile the survey, such smaller businesses are increasingly likely to be late in getting themselves set up.

Read more: It's time to up the ante on auto-enrolment say experts

(Source: Aviva)

Aviva's statistics suggest one year ago only one per cent of UK firms were late in setting up workplace pensions. In March this figure had spiked to 16 per cent, or one in every six companies.

Read more: New pensions levy rules might be about to ruin the auto enrolment party

In addition, the number of firms getting prepared well in advance of auto-enrolment deadlines is falling.

One year ago more than a third (35 per cent) of firms had applied to Aviva to set up a workplace pension more than two months in advance. This has now fallen to around a quarter of firms (25 per cent).

Aviva's managing director of business solutions Andy Beswick labelled the numbers "disappointing" but not unexpected. He added:

Small businesses tend to be less well resourced and aren’t blessed with large HR departments or budgets to help them through their auto-enrolment journey.

Read more: Final salary reliance falls as saving stalls

“What the figures do highlight is that there is still work to be done to make business owners aware of their obligations. As an industry, we’ve been talking about auto-enrolment since the early 2000s and implementing it for over four years now.

"But to thousands of employers and employees, it is still a brand new concept and we need to make sure people aren’t getting left behind."

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