The UK’s The Pensions Regulator (TPR) said it is prosecuting Stotts Tours (Oldham) Limited, a Manchester-based bus company, as well as its managing director Alan Stott, for deliberately failing to provide its employees with a workplace pension.
It is the first time that TPR has launched prosecutions for this offense.
The TPR has accused Stotts Tours (Oldham) Limited of failing to comply with the law on automatic enrollment for 36 members of its staff. “Stott is accused of either consenting or conniving in the bus company’s offense, or allowing the offense to be committed by neglect,” said the TPR in a statement.
Stotts Tours and Stott have been summoned to appear at Brighton Magistrates’ Court on Oct. 4, where they will face eight charges of willfully failing to comply with the company’s duties under the Pensions Act 2008. Under section 45 of the Pensions Act 2008, “the employer must make prescribed arrangements by which the jobholder becomes an active member of an automatic enrollment scheme with effect from the automatic enrollment date.”
According to the Act, when an offense under section 45 is committed by a company with the “consent or connivance of one of its directors, or is attributable to the director’s neglect,” the director is also considered guilty of the offense.
The offenses can be tried in a crown court or in a magistrates’ court. In a crown court, the maximum sentence is two years’ imprisonment, and in a magistrates’ court, the maximum sentence is an unlimited fine.
The TPR has been cracking down on companies and individuals it says have shirked their responsibilities toward their employees’ pensions. Late last month, it said it would prosecute Dominic Chappell for failing to provide information and documents it requested during its investigation into the sale of BHS. It has also begun publishing the names of pension plan trustees who have been fined for failing to complete plan returns or annual chair’s statements, and has begun carrying out spot checks to ensure employers are complying with their automatic enrollment duties.