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  • Just 16% feel well qualified to handle preparations
  • At least 44% don’t understand each task they need to undertake
  • Responsibility for employees’ pensions tops the worry list

Retail businesses are struggling to prepare for auto enrolment legislation, saying that a lack of relevant qualifications, time and resources is preventing them from meeting the new workplace pension requirements.

According to new research from Creative Auto Enrolment a mere 16% of businesses in the retail sector who have to comply with the legislation in the next 12 months say that they feel well qualified to manage auto enrolment preparations. This leaves thousands of businesses at risk of crippling fines, which can hit £2,500 per day.

Businesses need to tick off 33 different tasks to comply with the legislation according to Creative Auto Enrolment, yet at least 44% of decision makers in retail businesses admit to being in the dark on each and every task[1]. Company decision makers are most concerned about the huge responsibility burden of planning for their employees’ financial futures; two thirds (65%) say that choosing a pension provider and plan for employees’ savings is one of the tasks worrying them the most.

Yet it’s not just the more complex parts of the process that are proving difficult. Despite the fact that every single retailer must comply with this legislation, nearly two thirds (62%) are completely in the dark when it comes to the simplest task – determining when they need to be auto enrolment ready. Asked about their staging date, almost a quarter (22%) admit that they couldn’t do this without seeking advice, 13% didn’t realise they had to do it and over a quarter (27%) say they don’t even know what it is.

David White, Managing Director of Creative Auto Enrolment, said: “It’s now 18 months since the first employers staged but it’s clear from these findings that lessons are not being learned. But unfortunately it’s not a surprise – we are getting calls on a regular basis from companies who are completely unprepared for their staging dates – or have even missed them.”

“Auto enrolment is one of the biggest legislative changes that employers have had to deal with for years, and a massive burden for business owners, yet the government has just not provided adequate support. Businesses yet to stage need to ensure that auto enrolment is firmly on their radar screens to avoid the hefty fines associated with non-compliance – the last thing that business owners will want to face as we’re finally on the road to economic recovery.”

An overall lack of understanding is the biggest barrier to complying, cited by more than one in three (35%). This is followed by a lack of resources, time and external support (25%). Almost half (47%) of those surveyed estimate that preparing for their staging date has taken, or will take, over 10 weeks in terms of the man hours involved.

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