Minimum Wage

Attorney General written question – answered on 16th October 2014.

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Photo of Margot James Margot James Conservative, Stourbridge

To ask the Attorney General, how many companies have been prosecuted for not paying minimum wage in each of the last nine years.

Photo of Robert Buckland Robert Buckland The Solicitor-General

Records are available from 2006-07. With the agreement of the Department for Business Innovation and Skills, HMRC started considering prosecution for minimum wage offences from May 2006.

The following table shows the number of employers who have been prosecuted with offences connected with the National Minimum Wage (NMW) since then, and of those prosecutions, the number who have been prosecuted under Section 31(1) “Employer refuses or wilfully neglects to pay NMW” alongside other offences.

Prosecutions started

for any NMW offences

Charges of failure/

refusal to pay NMW

2006-07

1

0

2007-08

1

0

2008-09

5

2

2009-10

1

1

2010-11

0

1

2011-12

1

0

2012-13

0

0

2013-14

0

0

The majority of employers identified as paying below the NMW pay arrears on receipt of a formal Notice of Underpayment. Where they do not do so, HMRC pursues recovery through the civil courts. For deliberate non-compliance or obstructive behavior HMRC operates a policy of selective and exemplary criminal investigation action to enhance their enforcement strategy. HMRC‘s approach to tackling underpayment of NMW through the civil courts is the best way to ensure that money is paid back to the person underpaid and provides the most effective resolution for tax-payers. Criminal investigations may not result in arrears being paid to workers and are therefore reserved for the most serious cases.

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