Businesses should be aware that HMRC polices the National Minimum Wage (NMW) legislation. Not only do they fine employers who breach the regulations, they also enforce the payment of underpaid wages to staff.
HMRC have recently released figured confirming that 26,000 workers were paid less than the minimum wage.
• 708 employers had been fined with charges of up to £5,000, after it reviewed 1,693 complaints in 2012-13, and
• affected workers were given an average of £300 each in back-pay.
Investigated cases included the illegal use of interns, unpaid extra hours and workers being forced to buy company clothes as uniform. The NMW is currently £6.19 an hour for workers aged 21 or over.
From 1 October 2013 the NMW rates are:
• 21 and over: £6.31 per hour
• 18 to 20: £5.03 per hour
• Under 18: £3.72 per hour
• Apprentices under 19 years or in the first year of their apprenticeship: £2.68 per hour.
If you are unsure if your working practices comply with the NMW legislation you should take professional advice.