Helen Hughes Accountancy | Underpaid Workers receive back pay
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Underpaid Workers receive back pay

31 May Underpaid Workers receive back pay

During the 2012-13 tax year, many either unpaid workers (interns) or low paid workers earning below the national minimum wage have received what they are due after numerous investigations by the HMRC:-

More than 26,000 workers denied the national minimum wage by unscrupulous employers have received a £4m windfall following HMRC intervention.

In 2012-13, HMRC says it investigated 1,693 complaints against employers for allegedly breaching minimum wage rules. This resulted in 708 employers receiving automatic penalty charges of up to £5,000 and 26,519 employees receiving an average of £300 in back pay, topping up wages that had previously been below the legal minimum rate.

Employment minister Jo Swinson said:

‘Paying less than the minimum wage is totally unacceptable. Whenever we find examples of businesses breaking the law we will crack down on them.’

‘Supporting fairness in the workplace is one of our key priorities and the national minimum wage is one way of making sure this happens. It supports as many workers as possible without damaging their employment prospects, which is why effectively enforcing the minimum wage is critically important in making sure it stays a success.’

‘The figures from last year show that HMRC can really help people who have been underpaid to claim back the money they are owed.’

Cases where HMRC has taken action against employers over the last 12 months include a major fashion chain ordered to pay its 90 unpaid interns almost £60,000, while a multi-outlet retailer, which required employees to purchase specific items of clothing from its range, was ordered to repay almost £170,000 to over 6,000 workers.

Other rogue employers included a recruitment agency, requiring its workers to attend training at a client’s business without pay – ordered to pay £28,000 for 300 workers, while a national retailer, which forced employees to attend work before and after opening hours without pay, was ordered to pay wage arrears of more than £193,000 for nearly 3,500 workers.

The majority of national minimum wage abuse cases are dealt with by HMRC using civil penalty powers, but in more severe cases HMRC says it will take criminal action and seek a prosecution.

Source: CCH Online 30th May 2013

The national minimum hourly rate for an individual over the age of 21 is £6.19 per hour. If you would like any further details on this or other minimum wages for younger workers, please don’t hesitate to get in contact.