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HMRC targets firms failing to pay minimum wage rates

HMRC is continuing to clamp down on firms that fail to pay the National Minimum Wage and is urging underpaid workers to come forward and complain.

The latest figures show that the number of workers getting the money they're owed has doubled over the last year.

In 2017 to 2018, HMRC investigators identified £15.6m in pay owed to more than a record 200,000 of the UK's lowest paid workers. That was up from £10.9m for more than 98,000 workers in the previous 12 months.

HMRC launched its online complaints service in January 2017, and this has contributed to the 132% increase in the number of complaints received over the last year.

The figures are published as the government launches its annual advertising campaign designed to encourage workers to take action if they are not receiving the National Living Wage or the National Minimum Wage. The online campaign, which runs over the summer, urges underpaid workers to complain by completing an HMRC online form. 

Industries most complained about to HMRC include restaurants, bars, hotels and hairdressing. 

Business Minister Andrew Griffiths said: "Employers abusing the system and paying under the legal minimum are breaking the law. Short changing workers is a red line for this government and employers who cross the line will be identified by HMRC and forced to pay back every penny."

Failure to pay the minimum rates can result in fines of 200% of the arrears, public naming and, for the worst offences, criminal prosecution.

From 1 April 2018, the government's National Living Wage rate increased by 33p to £7.83 per hour for those aged 25 and over.

The National Minimum Wage increased:

  • by 33p to £7.38 per hour for those aged 21 to 24
  • by 30p to £5.90 per hour for those aged 18 to 20
  • by 15p to £4.20 per hour for those aged 16 to 17
  • by 20p to £3.70 per hour for apprentices.

For further advice on any of the issues raised in this article, or for employment law advice more generally, please contact JPP Law on 020 3468 3064 or email info@jpplaw.co.uk

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