HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) are intent on cracking down on employers who fail to pay workers the National Minimum Wage, particularly those who use migrant labour to undercut competitors.
To this end, HMRC has established a Dynamic Response Team, made up of highly-skilled specialist officers who will concentrate on the most high-profile and complex cases. The team will work in tandem with other government departments and local authorities to ensure that employees are paid what they are entitled to and that effective action is taken against employers who break the law, pursuing civil and criminal prosecutions where appropriate.
The crackdown was announced by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. Business Minister Pat McFadden said, “The Government and HMRC are doing more than ever to make sure that those entitled to the Minimum Wage are receiving it. Evasion hurts both workers and responsible employers who play by the rules, so we are stepping up our fight against non payment of the minimum wage.”
Communities Secretary John Denham added, “Tackling the abuse of migrant workers is an important part of building a fair society. Employers undercutting the wages of local workers put unfair pressure on businesses struggling to compete and cause resentment in the community.”
There are approximately 1 million low-paid workers who benefit from the National Minimum Wage. Since April 2009, HMRC have helped around 14,000 workers recover over £3.5 million in wage arrears. This included more than £640,000 alone in the hospitality sector, which is noted for its low levels of pay.
Current National Minimum Wage Rates
On 1 October 2009 the National Minimum Wage for workers aged 22 and over rose to £5.80 an hour. The rate for 18- to 21-year-olds was increased to £4.83 per hour and the rate for 16- and 17-year-olds to £3.57 per hour.