Employers named and shamed
Labour & European Law Review Weekly Issue 398 03 December 2014
Following legislation introduced last year allowing the government to name and shame employers who do not comply with minimum wage rules, it named another 25 culprits last week.
Between them, these employers owe their workers a total of over £89,000 in arrears and have been charged financial penalties totalling over £36,000. This was in addition to the other 30 employers that the government named since the new regime came into force. They had total arrears of over £50,000 and total penalties of over £24,000.
The scheme to name employers who break minimum wage law came into effect on 1 January 2011. This requires employers who pay workers less than the minimum wage not only to pay back arrears of wages at current minimum wage rates but also face financial penalties of up to £20,000. In the most serious cases employers can be prosecuted.
The government revised the naming scheme in October last year to make it simpler to name and shame employers who break the law. Under this scheme the government can name all employers who have been issued with a Notice of Underpayment (NoU).
Employers then have 28 days to appeal to HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) against the NoU. If the employer does not appeal or is unsuccessful in their appeal, the government considers them for naming. The employer then has 14 days to make representations outlining whether they meet any of the exceptional criteria:
- naming carries a risk of personal harm to an individual or their family
- there are national security risks associated with naming in this instance
- other factors which suggest that it would not be in the public interest to name the employer (employer to provide details)
If the government does not receive any representations or the representations received are unsuccessful, the employer is named in a press release.
The 25 employers named last week were thoroughly investigated by HMRC after workers made complaints to the free and confidential Pay and Work Rights Helpline.
Emma Game from Thompsons Solicitors commented: “Employers who continuously fail to comply with national minimum wage rules should most certainly be brought into question. Naming and shaming is a useful reminder that employers cannot simply ignore the legislation that has been put into place to protect employees.”
To read the list of names, go to: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-names-employers-who-fail-to-pay-the-national-minimum-wage