HMRC targets employers over minimum wage - Palmers Solicitors

HMRC targets employers over minimum wage

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) have recently announced that it is targeting 200 employers who advertised internships, to make sure that they are paying the minimum wage to employees.

The move is part of a government initiative to help explain to young people their rights over pay, and where to go for help if they feel they are being exploited. This comes after concerns were raised that employers are using unpaid interns as cheap labour.

HMRC enforces the minimum wage, saying it will be sending out letters to the companies and will also be performing ‘targeted checks’.

They also issued a warning to employers about the possibility that they could be publicly ‘named and shamed’ as well as face a £5,000 fine if found to be in breach of national minimum wage laws.

From the start of the tax year in April, HMRC had apparently issued penalties to 466 employers – this is a considerable rise from 2009/10 when the figure stood at 381 employers issued with a penalty for failing to pay the minimum wage.

The national minimum wage currently stands at £6.31 for those aged 21 and over.

Employment Relations Minister, Jo Swinson, said: “Leaving education and getting a job for the first time can be daunting for any young person. Internships can provide an important first step and are often a valuable way of helping young people start work. But they should be open to everyone in a fair and transparent way.

“Not paying the national minimum wage is illegal and if an employer breaks the law, government will take tough action. Already this year HMRC has issued penalties to 466 employers. Anyone considered a worker under the law should be paid at least the minimum wage, whether they are an intern, or someone on work experience.”

At Palmers, we can guide employers on what procedures they should be following, whether dealing with conduct or performance issues or the minimum wage they should be paying their workers.

For more information, please visit our website or contact Lara Murray.