A UK pre-school director lived up to the name of the Tiny Hearts Day Nursery she ran by failing to provide a pension for employees as required, and then lying about it to The Pensions Regulator (TPR).
Appearing at Brighton Magistrates’ Court, Christine Moore pleaded guilty to willful failure to comply with the daycare center’s pension duties. She also admitted to misleading TPR by claiming staff had been set up with pensions when they in fact had not.
TPR said Moore falsely told the regulator her company had automatically enrolled 13 nursery staff. After an alert from a whistleblower, however, and an investigation by TPR, the regulator found that although a pension plan had been set up, no staff had been automatically enrolled.
“Any employee who is eligible for automatic enrolment must be put into a pension and contributions must be paid in on their behalf,” Darren Ryder, director of automatic enrolment at TPR, said in a statement. “TPR will not stand by if an employer does not meet their responsibilities and we will take action to make sure staff get the pensions they are entitled to.”
Moore, 60, will be sentenced Nov. 20 and faces an unlimited fine.
TPR also reported that a recruitment agency and its managing director also have pleaded guilty to misleading the regulator by falsely claiming staff had been enrolled into a workplace pension.
SKL Recruitment Ltd and managing director
Linus “Lee” Kadzere admitted to willfully failing to comply with workplace pension duties and recklessly providing false information to TPR. The plea also was at the at Brighton Magistrates’ Court.
Kadzere told TPR that his company had automatically enrolled 22 staff. But following whistleblower reports, and an ensuing TPR investigation, the regulator found that a pension plan had been established, but no staff had been enrolled. No pension contributions deducted from pay had been paid into the plan.
“Kadzere misled TPR to cover up that he was deliberately denying his staff the pensions they are due,” Ryder said. “That is a serious offence which we will not tolerate.”
SKL and Kadzere, 54, pleaded guilty to three charges of willfully failing to comply with their automatic enrolment duties under the Pensions Act 2008 and one charge each of knowingly or recklessly providing false information to TPR under the Pensions Act 2004. Both will be sentenced on Dec. 17, and the maximum charge is an unlimited fine.