HMRC issues £14 million in penalties for minimum wage offences

HMRC issued 580 penalties totalling over £14 million for minimum wage offences during 2020/21, according to a report released by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).

The penalties given out for National Minimum Wage (NMW) and National Living Wage (NLW) offences have dropped by £4.5 million from the year before, which saw 992 penalties worth £18.5 million.

Last year, the Low Pay Commission (LPC) – which advises the government on minimum wage rates – released a report that said more needed to be done to build workers’ confidence in the enforcement regime and to support employers to comply with the rules.

The BEIS’s report says that HMRC has adapted its communications to make it clear to workers that they have the option to remain anonymous if they make a complaint, and that they can report a previous employer for minimum wage offences.

It also says it will be more transparent about the most common minimum wage offences it finds, which include deductions from workers’ pay and unpaid working time, to help organisations remain compliant.

The report said: ‘The BEIS therefore publishes an educational bulletin with each naming round to help raise awareness of minimum wage rules and improve compliance. Bulletins include analysis of the most common breaches in each naming round; examples to ensure understanding of how such breaches can be avoided; and links to the government’s ‘Calculating Minimum Wage’ guidance for further details.’

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