The Pensions Regulatory Authority (TPR) carries out random inspections against employers who are suspected of not meeting their company pension obligations.
It found that the majority of employers visited by the regulator are those who have failed to pay the correct pension contributions for their employees.
The increase in compliance activity marks a return to larger face-to-face inspections by TPR following the lifting of Covid restrictions earlier this year.
Although TPR had proceeded with “urgent” ad hoc inspections of employers suspected of serious violations, routine compliance actions have been paused due to social distancing restrictions.
In addition to detecting and confirming breaches, TPR said the inspections would allow it to gain “valuable insight” into employer behavior, including identifying common mistakes such as administrative errors related to ongoing duties.
In most cases, TPR inspectors work on-site with employers found to be non-compliant to help get them back on track.
On-site inspections will be carried out in several regions and cities across the UK in the coming months, including Greater Manchester, Nottingham, Greater London and Belfast.
“Despite the challenges of the past two years, the majority of employers have continued to meet their responsibilities, including paying full contributions on time and recognizing that auto-enrollment is working as usual,” said Joe Turner, TPR director of compliance and enforcement.
“But where we know an employer is not doing the right thing, we will take action to protect savers, including on-site inspections. This means we could be knocking on an employer’s door in any part of the UK.
“When an employer does not comply with their automatic registration obligations, our priority is to make sure they comply. To do this, we use our wide powers, including imposing fines where appropriate.”
As well as conducting spot-check inspections, TPR also detects breaches using RTI data shared by HMRC, alerts from pension schemes, individual whistleblowing reports and other information and intelligence.