Recruitment agency’s £11k fine over pension failings

A recruitment agency and its managing director have been ordered to pay £10,890 for avoiding their automatic enrolment duties and misleading the Pensions Regulator (TPR) by falsely claiming staff had been put into a workplace pension

At Brighton Magistrates’ Court, Hertfordshire-based SKL Professional Recruitment Agency Ltd and managing director Linus (known as Lee) Kadzere were sentenced for wilfully failing to comply with their workplace pension duties and providing false information to TPR.

SKL, a specialist agency providing workers in the care sector, and Kadzere, pleaded guilty to three charges of wilfully failing to comply with their automatic enrolment duties under section 45 and 46 of the Pensions Act 2008 and one charge each of knowingly or recklessly providing false information to TPR under section 80 of the Pensions Act 2004.

In a false declaration of compliance, Kadzere told TPR his company had automatically enrolled 22 staff.

However, following whistleblowing reports from staff and an investigation by TPR, it emerged that although a pension scheme had been set up, staff had not been enrolled and pension contributions deducted from pay had not been paid into the scheme.

Pass sentence, district judge Teresa Szagun said Kadzere was ‘reckless’ in his approach to his responsibilities and that ‘failure to comply has a detrimental economic impact not only for the individuals concerned but for society as a whole’.

Kadzere was fined £1,300 plus a victim surcharge of £120 and SKL £6,000 plus a victim surcharge of £120 and prosecution costs of £3,350.

Darren Ryder, TPR director of automatic enrolment, said: ‘TPR will not stand by if an employer wilfully fails to meet their responsibilities towards their staff - we will take action to make sure workers get the pensions they are due.’

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