A new law, introduced on 8 July 2003, gave minimum wage enforcement officers the power to ensure minimum wage arrears are paid to workers after they have left a job.
Prior to this, workers were only entitled to claim against their current employer, owing to a loophole in the 1998 legislation. This put them in the difficult position of having to make a stand against the offending employer and risk the backlash.
The Government claims to have already recovered 13m on behalf of employees deprived of the minimum wage and is determined to crackdown on unscrupulous employers.
As from October 2003 the adult National Minimum Wage Rate increased from 4.20 to 4.50 per hour. The rate for 18- to 21-year-olds rose from 3.60 to 3.80. This followed recommendations made in the Low Pay Commission's fourth report.
If you require further information on how the National Minimum Wage applies to your staff, the Department of Trade and Industry has recently updated its online guidance.