Minimum wage fine rises to £20,000
Rogue employers who do not pay workers the national minimum wage face penalties of up to £20,000 - four times the previous figure, the Government has announced.
The maximum penalty will increase from £5,000, and is set to come into force next month, with ministers pressing for further legislation so that £20,000 can apply to each underpaid worker.
Business Secretary Vince Cable said a nyone entitled to the national minimum wage should receive it, adding: "Paying anything less than this is unacceptable, illegal and will be punished by law. So we are bringing in tougher financial penalties to crackdown on those who do not play by the rules. The message is clear - if you break the law, you will face action.
"As well as higher penalties, we have made it easier to name and shame employers who fail to pay their workers what they are due. We are working with HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) to investigate non-compliance and facilitate prosecutions in the most serious of cases. We also make sure that every complaint made to the free and confidential Pay and Work Rights Helpline is looked at.
"The national minimum wage plays an important role in supporting low-paid workers whilst making sure they can still find work. Enforcing this is a key to fairness in our workforce."
TUC general secretary Frances O'Grady commented: "The TUC has long argued that successive governments have been soft on minimum wage dodgers.
"The plans announced today to quadruple penalties for rogue bosses who cheat staff out of the minimum wage should make employers think twice before illegally underpaying their staff.
"It's great that the penalties for flouting the minimum wage have been raised and that it's easier to name and shame offending employers. It's crucial now that HMRC is given the resources they need to enforce these new rights properly."
Labour will call for better enforcement of the minimum wage during an Opposite Day debate in the Commons today.
The party will call on the Government to strengthen the statutory rate, and encourage more employers to pay a living wage, as well as introducing higher fines for firms found not paying it and for local authorities to be given enforcement powers.
Shadow trade minister Ian Murray said: "The national minimum wage is one of Labour's proudest achievements in government and has made a huge contribution over the last 15 years in ending poverty pay and boosting living standards . It is right that we should celebrate the difference it has made.
"However, the Tory-led Government is not doing enough to enforce the minimum wage. Last year ministers promised to name and shame firms which aren't paying, but not a single firm has been named so far."