Don’t take micro employers for granted; Auto-Enrolment depends on them.

pitch and canvas.PNG

Pitch and canvas – a Cheshire glamping business with a top boss

Apprentice levy ≠auto-enrolment!

Blink and you miss it but at around 35 minutes into this morning’s “Wake up to Money” Mickey Clarke suggests to Suzanne Miller that Pitch and Canvas her start-up glamping business didn’t have to worry about auto-enrolment!

He confused  the Apprentice levy – (which you don’t pay till your pay bill is £3m)  with auto-enrolment- (which happens as soon as you get a staging date – or from October this year, as soon as you have eligible workers).

The Apprentice Levy and Auto-Enrolment  are not the same thing!

Why this matters is that SMEs like mine and Suzanne can, will and are getting fined for not following the auto-enrolment compliance journey. We can ignore the apprentice levy (for now) but we cannot ignore auto-enrolment.

Suzanne corrected Mickey but the message was still not clear and I worry that many small business owners will pick up on the implicit message that auto-enrolment – like the Apprentice levy

Let’s hope  Wake up to Money do a piece in the next couple of weeks about what employers are liable to pay auto-enrolment contributions and when?

While I’m on the subject, here’s a very angry note I got shortly  from a payroll lady

I’ve just been working on finance projections for our church café. Based on the Methodist living wage that I mentioned we should be paying £8.45 p.h plus have to fund pension from July for 2 Full Time staff that double in April then triple in 2019. Pension costs alone will cost us over £8K from April 2019 even if we don’t increase the FT rate which isn’t ethical if we give the Part Time staff £8.45 p.h, so it’s probably going to be about £10K  p.a for pensions we weren’t paying before without even adding in the increased salaries themselves.  

We’ve got to sell 66,250 items just to pay for the salary and pensions and put our prices up. That’s the reality of AE.

And I have another message from the Dad of a café owner – equally enraged by the burden of auto-enrolment who is demanding the Government help his daughter out with the upfront costs.

Why am I writing this?

Because a lot of people are assuming that auto-enrolment is a done deal and will be painless from now on. It is not painless, it is an absolute pain in the neck for small businesses.

What’s more , if these employers do not comply, they will get the full wrath of the Pensions Regulator upon them.

We should not take auto-enrolment for granted, we should not confuse it with the Apprenticeship levy and we should be very mindful that it is these small employers on whom so much depends!


suzanne miller

The impressive Suzanne Miller

About henry tapper

Founder of the Pension PlayPen,, partner of Stella, father of Olly . I am the Pension Plowman
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