Social Services: Minimum Wage

Department for Business, Innovation and Skills written question – answered on 16th January 2015.

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Photo of Alex Cunningham Alex Cunningham Labour, Stockton North

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, with reference to the statement by his Department to the Today programme on 7 January 2015, what steps his Department is taking to name and shame care providers who do not pay the national minimum wage.

Photo of Alex Cunningham Alex Cunningham Labour, Stockton North

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, if he will instruct HM Revenue and Customs to investigate non-compliance with the national minimum wage in the care sector.

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

The Government will name all employers that do not comply with National Minimum Wage regulations unless they meet one of the exceptional circumstances or have arrears of £100 or less.

The Government has named 92 employers, including a care provider. Between them they owed workers a total of over £316,000 in arrears and have been charged financial penalties totalling over £111,000.

Social care cases tend to be more complex than other cases so it can take longer for them to progress through the enforcement and naming process. We will continue to name and shame employers, including those operating in the care sector.

Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) are undertaking targeted enforcement work in the care sector, building on previous work that successfully identified non-compliant businesses. Between 2011 and 2013, HMRC investigated 224 employers in the care sector. Just over half of these were found to be non-compliant – between them owing £1,319,729 arrears of pay to 6,550 workers, with penalties issued with a total value of £146,931. There are 94 investigations currently underway in the care sector.

In addition to this enforcement activity, we continue to do other work to improve minimum wage compliance in the care sector – to provide guidance to employers so that they understand the law, including tips about the most common mistakes and the records they need to keep to prove they are paying their staff correctly. We also encourage and support care sector workers who have been underpaid to make a complaint, using the free and confidential Pay and Work Rights Helpline. Any worker who is concerned that they have not received what they are entitled to should call the helpline on 0800 917 2368. HMRC follow up every complaint.

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