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Employer pleads guilty of impersonating staff to opt out of auto-enrolment

Derby-based Workchain Ltd’s (formerly known as Smart Recruitment UK Ltd) owners and directors Phil Tong and Adam Hinkley encouraged five senior staff at the company to get the temporary workers out of the scheme so the company could avoid making pension payments on their behalf.

Financial controller Hannah Armson, HR and compliance officer Lisa Neal and branch managers Martin West, Robert Tomlinson and Andrew Thorpe then worked together to opt workers out of the Nest pension scheme using its online system.

All of the defendants pleaded guilty to the offence when they appeared for the first time at Derby Magistrates’ Court.

Auto-enrolment is not an option, it’s the law. The law is clear – no one can opt a worker out of a pension scheme, even if the worker agrees. Those who try to avoid their pension responsibilities in this way face prosecution.

Our previous article on this news story: Illegal opt-out firm in first regulator prosecution.