HMRC receives more funding to crack down on companies flouting NMW rules

According to the Government’s recent Labour Market Enforcement Strategy report, HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) will have an additional £5.3 million of funding during the current year and 2018, to ensure businesses are paying employees the National Minimum Wage (NMW) and National Living Wage (NLW).

This follows on from a previous increase of £20 million in 2016, which has allowed the team to expand to more than 360 members of staff.

The funding boost comes as the latest list of UK employers who have failed to pay their workers the National Minimum Wage, has been published, revealing that a record number of fines, totalling £1.9 million, has been handed down.

In addition to the fines, employers will need to pay more than 13,000 employees around £2 million in back pay.

The review recently named and shamed 233 employers who had failed to pay staff their full wages.

High Street catalogue retailer Argos emerged as the worst offender, having failed to pay 12,176 workers the correct amount, with a shortfall close to £1.5 million.

The error was linked to staff briefings which were conducted before they had clocked on to their shifts as well as security searches after workers had clocked off. The company has confirmed that all staff have now received their back pay.

Since 2013, the Government has fined 1,200 employers around £4 million and forced them to pay out £6 million to staff.

Currently HMRC enforces non-compliance with the statutory wage legislation by:

  • Ordering wage arrears to be paid to the worker
  • Imposing civil penalties of up to 200 per cent of the arrears owed per worker up to £20,000
  • Naming and shaming employers who owe their workers over £100
  • Undertaking and ordering labour market enforcement
  • Conducting criminal investigation possibly resulting in a prosecutions

Depending on the severity of the case, employers can face one or all of the penalties listed above, so it pays to ensure that a business is compliant with the current NMW and NLW requirements.