Minimum Wage

Business, Innovation and Skills written question – answered on 13th September 2013.

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Photo of Catherine McKinnell Catherine McKinnell Shadow Minister (Treasury)

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills pursuant to the answer of 15 July 2013, Official Report, column 551W, on the minimum wage, what the outcome was of the meeting between him, the Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury and officials from HM Revenue and Customs on enforcement of the national minimum wage; and what further steps will be taken against national minimum wage non-compliance as a result.

Photo of Jo Swinson Jo Swinson The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Women and Equalities, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills

Attendees at this meeting confirmed the Government's commitment to increasing compliance with minimum wage legislation through effective enforcement and support for the principle that everyone who is entitled to the minimum wage should receive it.

It was noted in the meeting that the work HMRC does on NMW enforcement is having positive results. In 2012/13 HMRC identified £3.9 million of wages in arrears for 26,519 workers—this represents a 33% increase in the number of workers that HMRC were able to help and a 26% increase in arrears identified compared to 2009/10. HMRC will continue to follow up every complaint referred to them from the Pay and Work Rights helpline (0800 917 2368).

In terms of future steps, the Government are taking action to reduce non-compliance across the board. We are stepping up our communications activity to increase awareness of the minimum wage rules for all employers and workers. We want to help employers avoid falling foul of minimum wage rules unwittingly, and to ensure that individuals are well-informed about their minimum wage eligibility. We have already issued NMW posters to our stakeholders asking them to display them where employers and workers will see them.

We have also announced that we will be simplifying the BIS NMW Naming Scheme to make it easier to name and shame more employers that break NMW law. Bad publicity is an additional deterrent to employers considering paying below the NMW. This is on top of financial penalties which employers already face if they fail to pay NMW. The revised naming scheme will come into effect from 1 October 2013.

The Department of Business, Innovation and Skills will continue to work closely with HMRC to ensure that workers receive what they are legally entitled to.

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