200,000 people receive back pay after National Minimum Wage crackdown

11-02-2020

More than 200,000 people have received a total of £15.6m in pay previously denied to them by employers paying less than the minimum wage.

Thanks to a government crackdown which included naming and shaming offenders, HM Revenue and Customs more than doubled the number of underpaid workers receiving money they’re owed by law, new figures show.

HMRC investigators increased the amount recovered in 2018 by almost 50 per cent from £10.9m in 2017.

The number of workers complaining about minimum wage breaches soared 132 per cent after an online complaints service was launched in January last year with restaurants, bars, hotels and hairdressers emerging as some of the worst offenders, HMRC said.

In March, Wagamama, TGI Friday and Marriott all appeared on a government list of firms who failed to pay staff the minimum wage.

Premier League football club Stoke City, whose owner Denise Coates collected £200m last year, also paid some staff less than the legal minimum, the Business Department revealed.

HMRC's latest figures were published as the government launched its annual advertising campaign designed to encourage workers to take action if they are not receiving the National Living Wage.

The online campaign, which runs over the summer, urges underpaid workers to complain using the online form.

The current rate is £7.83 per hour for people aged 25 and over, £7.38 for those aged 21 to 24 or £5.90 for people aged 18 to 20.

The National Minimum Wage (NMW) is the minimum pay per hour most workers under the age of 25 are entitled to by law whereas the National Living Wage (NLW) is the lowest level of pay for those aged 25 or over.

In August, employers were hit with £1.9m in fines and forced to pay money to staff for underpaying staff.

The government ordered businesses to hand more than 13,000 low-paid workers back pay.

The review identified 233 employers who had deprived staff of a full wage, with Argos emerging as the worst offender having underpaid 12,176 people close to £1.5m.

Source: Independent UK