Efforts to ensure that employers pay pension-scheme
contributions on time appear to be succeeding, a report has revealed.
Figures released by Opra, the Occupational Pensions
Regulatory Authority have shown that the number of companies which still make
late payment of pension contributions has fallen since it became a civil rather
than criminal offence in April last year.
Overall, the number of late contribution payment cases
opened by Opra has fallen from 7,372 in 1999-2000 to 6,609 in 200-2001.
Fiona Tyrell, Regulatory Team Leader for Opra, said, “We
have been very active in educating employers about their responsibilities, but
where this fails we are now able to impose direct penalties on them ourselves.
“This means that employers are brought to account much more
quickly and efficiently.”
However these types of cases still represent a large
proportion of the total complaints dealt with by the authority.
Of those companies found to be making late payments, over
half were taking between eleven and thirty additional days to get the funds
into the scheme.
More than £30 million of pension scheme assets were released
as a result of Opra’s appointment of pension scheme trustees.
By Robert De La Poer