The Pensions Regulator (TPR), the UK’s watchdog for workplace pension plans, has charged a recruitment agency and its managing director for trying to get away with not providing pensions for the company’s employees.
The charges were levied by the regulator against SKL Professional Recruitment Agency Ltd., which is based in Bushey just northwest of London, and its managing director Linus (Lee) Kadzere. TPR said the company and Kadzere will each face three charges of willfully failing to comply with their automatic enrollment duties, and one charge of knowingly or recklessly providing false and misleading information to TPR.
TPR said the defendants falsely claimed they had enrolled 22 staff into a workplace pension plan, when they in fact had not. Knowingly providing false information to TPR is an offense under section 80 of the Pensions Act 2004.
SKL, a specialist agency providing workers in the care sector, and Kadzere have been summoned to appear at Brighton Magistrates’ Court on Sept. 4. Both charges can be tried in a crown court or in a magistrates’ court. In a crown court the maximum sentence for each is two years’ imprisonment, and in a magistrates’ court the maximum sentence for each is an unlimited fine.
Automatic enrollment was introduced under the Pensions Act 2008, which requires every employer in the UK to put certain staff into a workplace pension plan and contribute toward it.
Last month, TPR announced it would target employers it suspected of providing false or misleading information about how they are meeting their automatic enrollment duties with inspections on short notice. TPR also launched spot checks on employers who have been given an escalating penalty notice for non-compliance, yet have still failed to meet their responsibilities, along with a small number of other employers selected at random.
“It is an offense for employers to provide TPR with false information on their declaration of compliance, but there are tell-tale signs indicating an employer might not be telling the truth,” Darren Ryder, TPR’s director of automatic enrollment, said in a statement. “We can also detect employers who are failing to meet their automatic enrolment duties despite being issued with a penalty and we will take action if we suspect either of these is the case.”
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