To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, pursuant to the Answer of 10 June 2019 to Question 260713 on Minimum Wage, how many employers were (a) found to be non-compliant with the National Minimum Wage, (b) prosecuted for non-compliance with the National Minimum Wage, (c) subject to labour market enforcement undertakings or orders in relation to non-compliance with the National Minimum Wage and (d) named under the National Minimum Wage Naming Scheme in 2018-19.
The Government is clear that National Minimum Wage (NMW) enforcement is a priority and we take tough action against the minority of employers who underpay. We have more than doubled the budget for NMW compliance and enforcement since 2015, to a record high of £27.4 million. The 2018/19 financial year was a record year for NMW enforcement; HMRC identified £24.4 million in arrears across 3,018 cases – a record number since the introduction of the National Living Wage in 2016.
HMRC issued seven labour market undertakings in 2018/19 and there are currently seven cases at various stages of the criminal investigation process. We strike a careful balance with our enforcement; working with and educating employers to make sure they pay their workers correctly whilst tackling the most serious cases of wilful non-compliance. Prosecution is reserved for the most egregious breaches of minimum wage law and, in most cases, it is not the best approach to help workers. Criminal sanctions against companies can mean that workers end up waiting considerably longer for their lost earnings to be repaid.
In 2018/19 the Government named 239 employers as part of the NMW Naming Scheme, covering over £1.4 million in arrears for 22,361 workers. The scheme is currently under review to ensure that it best fulfils its purpose, and we will conclude this work during the summer.