2018/19 confirmed as another record-breaking year for Minimum Wage enforcement

20 February 2020

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has confirmed, in a report, that tax year 2018/19 was a resounding success in terms of the enforcement of Minimum Wage.

£24.4 million was identified in underpaid arrears, for over 220,000 workers, and over 1,000 penalties were issued which equated to a value exceeding the £17 million mark. £10 million in self-correction arrears were also recognized by HMRC.

It was also revealed that HMRC, who are responsible for enforcing the minimum wage, used several techniques to encourage compliance. These methods included, but were not limited to, sending 1.4 million texts to workers identified as being “at risk” and hosting webinars which attracted 44,600 attendees, which worked in conjunction with a £1.1 million BEIS media campaign which helped to inform 9/10 workers of the National Living Wage (NLW). The report also highlighted that the relevant campaign website received just under one million visits. The same communication activities will continue into 2019/20 in line with recommendations made by the Low Pay Commission (LPC).

HMRC also targets employers by providing specific guidance to inform them of their responsibilities and educate those who want to do the right thing. Maximising the visibility and coverage of the enforcement programme serves to act as a deterrent for any deliberately unscrupulous employers.

The report discusses the difficulties in estimating the scale of non-compliance in relation to Minimum Wage and details the use of the Office of National Statistics’ Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings report, but also how this is not without its flaws. Continuous work is being done to work to improve estimates surrounding minimum wage non-compliance.

The report states that HMRC received approximately 7,700 complaints relating to Minimum Wage via its online complaint form but that the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) received over that amount of enquiries over the course of 2018/19.

 


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