Enforcement of the national minimum wage and the national living wage is a priority for the Government, and we take tough action against the minority of employers who underpay. Last year, employers were ordered to repay over 220,000 UK workers a record £24.4 million of arrears. We have more than doubled the budget for minimum wage compliance and enforcement since 2015, and it is now at a record high of £27.4 million.
As part of our enforcement approach, we name employers who have breached the legislation, which raises awareness of national minimum wage enforcement and deters others who may be tempted to break the law. To date, the Government have named almost 2,000 employers who have underpaid the national minimum wage. The Government are reviewing the naming scheme to ensure that it continues effectively to support minimum wage compliance. This is in response to a recommendation made by the director of labour market enforcement, Professor Sir David Metcalf, last year.
In December 2018 we accepted both of the director’s recommendations relating to the naming scheme, specifically to review the scheme’s effectiveness and to consider how to provide further information under the scheme in future. The Government have sought to learn from other naming schemes and other regulatory approaches. We have also discussed the evidence with the director of labour market enforcement and have conducted further analysis to understand the impact that any changes to the scheme would have on the number of employers named.
Naming and shaming remains an important part of our enforcement toolkit, and the review will be concluded in the coming weeks. Any changes to the scheme will be communicated through the national minimum wage enforcement policy documents.