Senior recruitment staff guilty of opting temps out of pension scheme

Senior staff at a national recruitment agency have pleaded guilty to trying to save money by impersonating their temporary workers to opt them out of their workplace pension scheme.

In April, Recruiter reported The Pensions Regulator had announced plans to prosecute Workchain, its directors and some of its senior staff on the suspicion they illegally opted employees out of their pension scheme.

Providing further details about the case this morning in a statement, the regulator revealed Workchain owners and directors Phil Tong and Adam Hinkley were found to have 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.

A joint investigation into Workchain involving the regulator, the Employment Agency Standards Inspectorate, Derbyshire Constabulary and Nottinghamshire Constabulary was launched after workplace pension scheme NEST reported its concerns about Workchain to TPR in May 2014.

The regulator prosecuted Workchain, the two directors and five senior staff for an offence of unauthorised access to computer data, contrary to section 1(1) of the Computer Misuse Act 1990. 

All of the defendants pleaded guilty to the offence when they appeared at Derby Magistrates’ Court today. District Judge Jonathan Taaffe committed the case to Derby Crown Court for a sentencing hearing on 28 June 2018.

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