The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) has announced a new policy for dealing with rogue employers who fail to pay the statutory national minimum wage, currently £5.35 per hour for adult workers.
In cases where workers have made a complaint that they are not receiving the minimum wage, HM Revenue and Customs will investigate the employer. Under the new policy, if the complaint is upheld and the employer will not pay the arrears of wages, an enforcement notice will be issued warning them to pay within seven days. Employers who do not pay within seven days risk a minimum fine of £224.70, the penalty for default on an enforcement notice for one named worker. A penalty may be applied even if it is the first time an employer has failed to comply with an enforcement notice.
An employer who persistently fails to pay the national minimum wage could face prosecution, with the risk of a criminal record and a £5,000 fine.
The DTI believes that the measures will help good employers to know that they are operating on a level playing field.
Last year, more than 61,000 calls were made to the national minimum wage helpline and the Government helped 25,314 workers recover more than £3.2 million in unpaid wages.