By Mark Jones, director of Carmarthen-based Clay Shaw Butler chartered accountants and business consultants. The Money Matters column appears in the Pembrokeshire Herald, the Carmarthenshire Herald and the Llanelli Herald newspapers.
The taxman at HMRC has announced that they achieved record enforcement results this year, identifying £15.6million of minimum wage underpayments.
The number of workers identified as underpaid was double that in 2016/17 and the highest number since the National Minimum Wage came into force.
The figures reveal:
- a record £15.6 million of underpayment identified for more than 200,000 workers
- employers fined £14 million for not meeting legal obligations
- more than 600 employers named in 2017/18 as part of ‘naming’ rounds.
The Government works hard to identify workers being underpaid since the National Minimum Wage came into force.
In every case, the Government instructs employers to repay their workers and enforces the return of the missing cash.
The rise in cases follows increased efforts by HMRC to promote compliance and improve employer awareness of the minimum wage.
The Government’s 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.
“Over the past year, 56 employers took advantage of a HMRC pilot scheme where employers were encouraged to come forward outside of an investigation. This resulted in nearly £250,000 in arrears being declared for just under 700 workers.
“The year also set a new record for penalties issued by the government, with £14 million in fines issued to employers.
‘More than 600 employers who were found to have underpaid their workers the minimum wage were named in 2017/18. This is the largest number in any single year since the scheme began in 2014.
‘This year, the social care, retail, commercial warehousing and gig economy sectors have been prioritised by HMRC for enforcement of the minimum wage. This is alongside employment agencies, apprentices and migrant workers. These sectors are where non-compliance with National Minimum Wage is believed to be more widespread.’
Penny Ciniewicz, 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.
‘If anyone thinks they are not receiving at least the minimum wage, they can contact the Acas helpline on 0300 123 1100 in confidence or submit a query online through our complaints form.”
Low Pay Commission Chairman Bryan Sanderson said:
‘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.”
Funding for minimum wage enforcement has reached record levels, rising to £26.3 million in 2018/19 from £20 million in 2016/17.
For more information about your pay, or if you think you might be being underpaid, get advice and guidance at the following website -www.gov.uk/checkyourpay.
Link to Government website – https://www.gov.uk/government/news/record-156-million-underpayment-identified-for-workers-on-the-minimum-wage
In other news, Budget Day is here again.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond, has announced that the Budget will take place on Monday, October 29.
Breaking with the tradition of a Wednesday in November, perhaps in a bid to avoid the ongoing Brexit negotiations, the Government is expected to set out its plans ‘to build a stronger, more prosperous economy, building on the recent Spring Statement and last year’s Budget’.
The Government announcements are expected to include updates on draft legislation and consultations, and proposed tax rates and reliefs.
As always, the team at Clay Shaw Butler will keep you up-to-date with the Budget news when it happens.
You can find out more about money matters on the Clay Shaw Butler website (under our news for business section) – http://www.clayshawbutler.com/news/latest-news-for-business
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