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Minimum wage whistleblowing scheme set to resume

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The scheme will call out businesses for failing to pay their workers the National Minimum Wage, while increasing support for employers to comply with NMW legislation (stock photo)

The scheme will call out businesses for failing to pay their workers the National Minimum Wage, while increasing support for employers to comply with NMW legislation (stock photo)

PA Archive/PA Images

The scheme will call out businesses for failing to pay their workers the National Minimum Wage, while increasing support for employers to comply with NMW legislation (stock photo)

Naming employers who fail to pay minimum wage is to be resumed under revamped rules the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has said.

It will mean employers who fail to pay their workers the National Minimum Wage (NMW) will be publicly identified.

The scheme will call out businesses for failing to pay their workers the National Minimum Wage, while increasing support for employers to comply with NMW legislation. The changes, which will see naming rounds occur more often, aims to enhance the effectiveness of the measure as a deterrent.

The government has also increased the threshold for naming employers, meaning that firms which owe arrears of more than £500 in National Minimum Wage payments to their workforces will now be identified. The threshold was previously £100.

This new proportionate approach will mean that some businesses falling foul of the rules by minimal sums will not be named, provided they correct any errors.

These businesses that underpay by less than £100 will have the chance to put right their mistakes without being named, but will still have to pay back workers and can face fines of up to 200% of the arrears.

Business Minister Kelly Tolhurst said: "Anyone who is entitled to the minimum wage should receive it, no ifs, no buts, and we're cracking down on companies that underpay their workers. But we also want to make it as easy as possible for employers, especially small businesses and those trying to do right by their staff, to comply with the NMW rules, which is why we're reforming regulations."

Matthew Taylor, director of Labour Market Enforcement, said: "I welcome today's announcement by the government and believe employers will benefit from the greater clarity these revisions bring to the minimum wage rules for salaried workers.

"Particularly welcome is the news of the reintroduction of the NMW Naming Scheme, that both recognises the sharper focus advocated by my predecessor and follows a stronger compliance and education approach to help employers get it right."

Additionally, the government has decided that employers offering salary sacrifice and deductions schemes will no longer be subject to financial penalties if the scheme brings payment below the National Minimum Wage rate (which can be up to 200% of arrears).

For example, benefit schemes where staff buy products from their employer and pay for these via salary deductions.

The waiver will be subject to strict criteria - including that the worker has opted into the scheme.

Deductions of NMW for uniform and other items connected with the worker's employment will continue to be penalised.

  • Full details are published on the gov.uk website in the National Minimum Wage enforcement policy document.
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