A high proportion of companies are signing up to auto-enrolment late, according to workplace pensions provider Now: Pensions.
Now:Pensions says in the fourth quarter of 2016, 41% of the companies that signed up with them, did so either very close to their staging date, or after the staging date deadline has passed.
It's the highest number the company has recorded this year.
Of those who left it late, 19% contacted Now:Pensions within a month of their staging date, while more than one in five (22%) left it until after the deadline.
At the other end of the spectrum, however, in both the third and fourth quarters, more than a third (38%) were planning a clear six months or more ahead of their staging date.
Now: Pensions says this is a "stark increase" from the first quarter of the year, where just over one in 10 (13%) were sorting their auto enrolment duties in advance.
Now: Pensions CEO Morten Nilsson, said: "Small business owners have a lot to think about and it's easy for auto-enrolment to be put on the back burner, but fines for non-compliance are steep and missing the deadline can cause unnecessary sleepless nights.
"It's encouraging to see that so many small firms are taking their auto-enrolment duties seriously and planning well in advance – the messages from The Pensions Regulator are clearly getting through.
But, he added, there are still a lot of firms burying their heads in the sand and not dealing with auto enrolment in good time.
Nilsson re-emphasised the need for small organisations to meet their obligations: "Auto enrolment is complicated, so the longer firms leave to tackle it, the more confident and comfortable they'll feel."
First published 26.01.2017