We are over halfway through the automatic enrolment process and about 70,000 employers (the very largest in the UK) have passed their staging date (the date the new employer duties go live). This leaves about 1.8m smaller employers to complete the process in the next two years!

Next year alone, over 500,000 employers will reach their staging dates - an average of 45,000 per month. In 2017 a further million or so employers will follow.

But these are smaller employers - and the vast majority will not have the support of HR, payroll and pension departments to help them, something that the largest employers have benefited from in working through the complexities of the new employer duties.

And yet, some larger employers have still managed to get it wrong!

To date the Pensions Regulator has issued 582 fixed penalty notices and seven escalating penalty notices.

It has been suggested that many cases are a result of unintentional non-compliance, because employers have not fully understood the guidance.

It's fair to say that the legislation is complex with over 400 pages of guidance an employer may need to refer to in order to comply with their responsibilities.

Smaller employers will not have the time to work through the guidance and will need a simplified solution to help them comply.

They will not want to understand the definition of qualifying earnings or be able to recognise the difference between an eligible, non-eligible or entitled worker.

A simple online automatic enrolment solution, that takes less than two minutes to complete, can help an employer achieve compliance with their new duties, so all they have to do is run their payroll and pay the pension contributions as they fall due - everything else is taken care of for them.

For many employers a workplace pension will be the first employee benefit they have introduced for their staff. But this simplified on-line approach can be applied to other benefits.

For example, it is now possible for smaller employers to use a simplified approach to setting up a group life assurance scheme for their employees and elevating the profile of their business, and aiding employee retention.

Historically, setting up a group life assurance scheme was technically complex, burdened by paper, required individuals at an employer to take on trustee responsibilities and involved the detailed provision of staff data. Now with new and innovative online solutions, as with automatic enrolment, schemes can be set up in as little as five minutes with no requirement for either individual membership data or individual underwriting.

With so many time-pressed smaller employers due to stage over the next two years it is doubtful that there is sufficient capacity in the advisory market for employers to look to for support so simple solutions have to be the answer to enable them not just to meet their legislative obligations but also to put in place benefits that will be truly valued by their employees.

For more information visit www.simpleae.co.uk or call 01844 275 373