Minimum wage breaches by employers, including breaches of the National Living Wage, have cost workers from across the UK a combined total of £15.6 million in lost wages.
Figures released by the Government show that around 200,000 workers were affected in what was highest underpayment since the National Minimum Wage was introduced.
In total, more than 600 employers were named and shamed in in 2017/18 for minimum wage breaches, the highest figure since naming and shaming was introduced in 2014.
Business Minister, Kelly Tolhurst, said: “We are dedicated to stopping underpayment of the minimum wage. Employers must recognise their responsibilities and pay their workers the money they are entitled to.
“The UK’s lowest paid workers have had the fastest wage growth in 20 years thanks to the National Living Wage and today’s figures serve as a reminder to all employers to check they are getting their workers’ pay right.”
Penny Ciniewicz, HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) Director General of Customer Compliance, said: “HMRC is committed to ensuring that workers receive the wages they are legally entitled to, irrespective of their employer’s size or business sector, and today’s figures highlight our success over the last year.
Low Pay Commission Chairman, Bryan Sanderson, added: “All workers are entitled to be paid at least the minimum wage, so it is good to see increased focus on enforcement bearing fruit and securing more arrears for more workers.
“Awareness of the minimum wage is vital for workers and employers alike, and strong enforcement is critical to its success.”
The current rates of the National Living and Minimum Wage are:
|25 and over||21 to 24||18 to 20||Under 18||Apprentice|
Samantha Randall, a Solicitor with Palmers, who specialises in employment law, said: “Paying the National Living and Minimum Wages are not optional for employers – the law is clear on this and employers need to ensure that, at the very least, they are paying their workers the legal minimum rate of pay.
“This latest review shows that the practice is far more widespread than many may have believed. HMRC takes the matter very seriously and will prosecute employers who are found to be underpaying their staff.”
For help and advice on all aspects of employment law or concerns relating to NMW and NLW rules, please contact us.