HMRC recently announced a record in penalties against companies who failed to pay minimum wage over the last year. With £15.6 million of underpayments, the Government fined employers £14 million in total.
The numbers recently presented by HMRC might look shocking. When we compare them, we notice employers who underpaid their staff members did not gain much. Over 600 have been named in this effort to tackle minimum wage issues. And the maximum fine reaches 200% for every pound underpaid.
As of April 2018, the national minimum wages rates have been set to:
- £7,83 for employees 25 and over;
- £7,38 for employees aged 21-14;
- £5,90 for employees aged 18-20;
- £4,20 for employees aged under 18.
Social care and retail under scrutiny
According to data available, the number of workers identified as underpaid has doubled as compared to 2016-2017. Over 200,000 people received less than the minimum wage payment.
The investigation focused on social care, retail, commercial warehousing and gig economy sectors. Together with employment agencies, also apprentice and migrant workforce, these have reportedly been believed to underpay workers. If we look at the major increase in cases identified, resulting in fines, it confirms suspicions about these industries.
Also, the BBC reports that the Office for National Statistics estimates over 360,000 people are currently underpaid. Still, some of these employees might receive other benefits such as accommodation or meals as part of their pay.
Business Minister Kelly Tolhurst recently said:
“We are dedicated to stopping underpayment of the minimum wage. Employers must recognise their responsibilities and pay their workers the money they are entitled to.”