Rural businesses have been urged to seek advice and act now so that they are ready for the auto-enrolment pension legislation change.
Under the new law, UK employers will need to provide a qualified automatic enrolment pension scheme for eligible employees.
As of April 2017, every employer in the UK, including farmers, tradesmen and other rural employers, must ensure certain staff are put onto a pension scheme and contribute towards it.
Jessica Card, a senior rural practice surveyor at land, property and business consultancy George F White, said: “The auto-enrolment legislation change presents a major challenge for many small businesses across the North East.
“There will be a significant number of small employers, including farmers, farm businesses and rural tradesmen, who will think that the legislation will not apply to them or they can choose to opt out of the scheme.
“This is not the case and we strongly advise that any small business employer seeks expert guidance on this matter.”
Failure to comply with the Pension Regulator and the new legislation could leave farmers, and other small businesses, facing a £400 fine, and daily fines between £50 to £10,000 depending on the number of staff employers have.
Every employer will have received a letter from the Pensions Regulator reminding them to set up their workplace pension scheme by a set date, which is based on specific criteria each individual business meets.
Jessica added: “Many of our clients are small, rural businesses, including farmers, those with farm businesses, seasonal employees and rural tradesmen. We are working closely with them to ensure they comply with the new law.
“It’s vital that these businesses have a suitable pension scheme in place to enrol eligible employees which is why, for our clients, we’ve set up their workplace pension schemes, advising them on which staff members to enrol and how much it would cost.
“Liaising on their behalf with the Pension Regulator and provider, we’re also handling the payroll side of things, deducting the correct workplace pension contribution accordingly.”
For more information on how George F White can help, contact 01361 883488 or email@example.com