Almost one in six businesses are applying for a workplace pension after their staging date has passed, according to new research from Aviva.
The study notes that this trend is on the rise, rising from 14 per cent the previous quarter (Oct – Dec 2016).
Year-on-year, that figure has jumped from just one per cent.
Likewise, a record-low number of companies are making preparations more than two months in advance, sitting at just 25 per cent.
The study claims that companies dragging their feet are putting themselves at risk of a fine or are limiting themselves when it comes to choosing a pension scheme – as not all providers will take on “late stagers”.
Andy Beswick, MD Business Solutions at Aviva, said: “While some of these numbers are disappointing, it’s not unexpected. SMEs tend to be less well-resourced and aren’t blessed with large HR departments or budgets to help them through their auto-enrolment journey.
“What the figures do highlight is that there is still work to be done to make business owners aware of their obligations. As an industry, we’ve been talking about auto-enrolment since the early 2000s and implementing it for over four years now. But to thousands of employers and employees, it is still a brand new concept and we need to make sure people aren’t getting left behind.”
Around 500,000 small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are due to set up a workplace pension this year.