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Minimum wage workers underpaid by £15m in 2017/18

More than 200,000 workers who were paid less than the minimum wage have been identified, following a record government clampdown.

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Funding for minimum wage enforcement reached £26.3m in 2018/19
Funding for minimum wage enforcement reached £26.3m in 2018/19

Through this year’s enforcement results, HMRC identified £15.6m of underpayments for workers on the minimum wage.

 

The number of workers identified as underpaid was double that in 2016/17 and the highest number since the National Minimum Wage came into force.

 

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) said that in every case, the government instructs employers to repay their workers and enforces the return of the missing cash.

 

The BEIS found that over the past year, 56 employers took advantage of a HMRC pilot scheme where employers were encouraged to come forward outside of an investigation. It said this resulted in nearly £250,000 in arrears being declared for just under 700 workers.

 

This year also set a new record for penalties issued by the government, with £14m in fines issued to employers. More than 600 employers who were found to have underpaid their workers the minimum wage were named in 2017/18 - this is the largest number in any single year since the scheme began in 2014.

 

Business Minister Kelly Tolhurst, 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.”

 

The BEIS said funding for minimum wage enforcement has reached record levels, rising to £26.3m in 2018/19 from £20m in 2016/17.

 

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