Tax & admin Carly Hacon · 14 May 2018
HMRC orders employers to pay out 15.6m to underpaid workers
Over 200, 000 UK workers receive back pay as HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) clamps down on enforcing the National Minimum Wage. From the 2017 2018 tax year, HMRC has identified 15.6m owed to the British workforce, after many people across the nation have been underpaid. At a record high, it is up from the year before where 98, 000 of the UK’s lowest paid workers were underpaid over 10.9m collectively. No matter what size of the business, t is the responsibility of employers, to pay the correct wage to their staff. Failing to pay staff correctly can result in fines of 200 per cent of the arrears, public naming and, for the worst offences criminal prosecution. Commenting on this, HMRC business minister, Andrew Griffiths said: Employers abusing the system and paying under the legal minimum are breaking the law. ‘short changing workers is a red line for this government and employers who cross the line will be identified byhMRCand forced to pay back every penny, and could be hit with fines of up to 200 per cent of wages owed. HMRC launched its complaint service in January 2017, because of this 132 per cent of complaints have risen in the last year and the amount of money given back been has doubled. Running over summer, the online complaints tool is easy to navigate and allows for anyone to enquire about not being paid properly, with the option of reporting anonymously. The service was designed to encourage workers to take action if they suspect they are being paid unfairly, i.e. not receiving the national living wage or minimum wage. Industries most complained about tohMRCinclude restaurants, bars, hotels and hairdressing. Penny Ciniewicz, Director General of Customer Compliance athMRC, said: HMRCis committed to getting money back into the pockets of underpaid workers, and these figures demonstrate that we will not hesitate to take action against employers who ignore the law. we urge anyone who is concerned they are not being paid the correct rates to contact us in confidence through the Acas helpline or through our online complaints form.
ABOUT THE EXPERTCarly Hacon
Carly Hacon is a reporter for Business Advice. She has a BA in journalism from Kingston University, and has previously worked as a features editor for a local newspaper.