Oldham-based firm will be expected to pay fines, costs and backdated payments totalling more than £60,000
A bus operator has become the first UK firm to be sentenced for failing to enrol staff on a pension scheme, the BBC reported.
Stotts Tours of Oldham, Greater Manchester, should have begun pension contributions for staff from 2015, The Pensions Regulator (TPR) said.
The firm and its Managing Director, Alan Stott, had previously admitted wilful failure to comply with pension law.
District Judge Teresa Szagun said: “Initially, Mr Stott’s attitude was to bury his head in the sand. This later left him in a position where he was out of his depth.”
The fines and court costs come on top of £14,400 in civil fines already owed by the firm for failing to comply with the law on automatic pension enrolment. Stotts Tours must also pay an estimated £10,000 in backdated pension contributions for its staff, as well as ongoing contributions.
Magistrates fined the company £27,000 and ordered it to pay £7,400 in costs and a £120 victim surcharge.
Alan Stott was ordered to pay a £4,455 fine and a £120 victim surcharge.
According to the Pensions Act 2008, every employer in the UK, where appropriate, must contribute towards a pension scheme for their staff in a process known as automatic enrolment. Auto-enrolment has been phased in by the Government since 2012, so that workers can save to top-up their state pension on retirement.
In the first prosecution of its kind, TPR found 36 staff from Stotts Tours should have been put on a pension scheme from June 2015.
TPR director, Darren Ryder, said: “Compliance with automatic enrolment remains very high, so it is extremely disappointing that a tiny minority of employers continue to flout the law by denying their staff the pensions they are entitled to.
“This case shows the cost to employers that failing to comply with automatic enrolment can bring; a bill of tens of thousands of pounds, a criminal conviction and a damaged reputation.”