To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, what steps his Department plans to take to ensure that the incomes of workers are fully supported at or above the minimum wage in cases where their employers are under investigation for alleged exploitative or unsafe working practices.
The Government is committed to cracking down on employers who fail to pay the National Minimum Wage. We are clear that anyone entitled to be paid the minimum wage should receive it. All businesses – irrespective of their size or business sector – are responsible for paying the correct minimum wage to their staff.
Individuals can contact the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) on 0300 123 1100 or at www.acas.org.uk for confidential, impartial, and free advice if they think they are being underpaid. They can also complain to HMRC, which is responsible for enforcing National Minimum Wage legislation. HMRC will consider every complaint it receives.
The Government has more than doubled the budget for National Minimum Wage compliance and enforcement to £27.5 million for 2020/21, up from £13.2 million in 2015/16. Increasing the budget allows HMRC to focus on tackling the most serious cases of non-compliance. It also increases the number of compliance officers available to investigate minimum wage complaints and conduct risk-based enforcement in sectors where non-compliance is most likely.
The safer workplaces guidance does not change existing obligations relating to health and safety, employment, or equalities. If the enforcing authority finds that an employer is not taking action to properly manage workplace risk, a range of actions are open to them including specific advice or issuing enforcement notices.