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National minimum wage information for employers

By HMRC

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About national minimum wage (NMW) and National Living Wage (NLW)

This factsheet tells you about the checks we carry out to make sure that you are
paying your workers at least the National Minimum Wage (NMW) or National Living
Wage (NLW).

The NMW and the NLW are the minimum legal amount that employers must pay their
workers. You are responsible for making sure that your workers are paid at least the
appropriate rate of NMW or NLW . You must also keep sufficient records to prove that
you have done this.

Our role

We are responsible for making sure that employers pay their workers at least the
NMW or the NLW. We do this on behalf of the Department for Business, Innovation
and Skills (BIS).

We carry out checks on employers and talk to workers to make sure that all workers
are paid what they are legally due. We choose which employers to check based on our
own research, or where we have received a complaint that an employer is paying one
or more of their workers below the NMW or the NLW.

Our visits and requests for information

We are allowed to ask for:
any information we think will show whether workers are being paid at least
the NMW or the NLW

explanations of anything contained within records

any additional information we need to determine whether the NMW or the NLW
has been paid

We are also allowed to visit you to get the information we need and we may need
to visit you more than once. We will try to make an appointment at a time that is
convenient to you. We do not have to tell an employer why we are checking their
records or give them details of the information we have received. The law that covers
what we do is the National Minimum Wage Act 1998.

What happens during a visit

We will need to speak to you about the work patterns of your workers, the
arrangements you have in place for calculating their pay and to speak to the person
responsible for calculating pay, if this is not you.

We will also need to see records that show how much your workers are paid and may
need to take copies of some records. It will save time if you have these ready when
we visit. If we think there are ways that you should improve your record keeping we
will tell you.
We may have to do more research or ask you, or your workers, for more information
before we can decide whether you have paid them at least NMW rates.

At the end of our check

We will let you know when we have completed our visits and check. We will also write
to you to confirm any advice given to you about changes to your record keeping.
If we have found that you have paid any of your workers below the NMW or NLW,
we will let you know if you owe any arrears of pay to those workers.

Arrears of NMW due

We compare the amount the worker was actually paid against the amount they
should have been paid had the correct NMW rate been applied. The difference is the
amount they have been underpaid.

If the NMW or NLW rate originally due is the same as the current rate, the amount of
arrears will be the same as the amount underpaid.

If the rate originally due was lower than the current rate the arrears due will be more
than the amount originally underpaid.

For more information on how arrears are calculated go to
www.gov.uk/national-minimum-wage

Arrears of pay

If we find that you have paid any of your workers less than the NMW or the NLW,
we will send you a Notice of Underpayment. This will tell you:

  • how much you owe each worker and when you must pay them 
  • whether you have to pay us a penalty and when you must make payment by

A Notice of Underpayment is a legal demand for payment. If you do not pay the
amounts due to your workers we can pursue payment through a civil court or an
Employment Tribunal (Industrial Tribunal in Northern Ireland).

Penalties

Employers found to have paid less than the NMW rates will also have to pay us
a penalty for any underpayments that relate to pay periods starting on or after
6 April 2009. You can find further information at
www.gov.uk/government/publications/enforcing-national-minimum-wage-law

If you disagree

If you disagree with the Notice of Underpayment you can appeal to an Employment
Tribunal. You must do this within 4 weeks of the date of the Notice of Underpayment.
We will send details of how to appeal when we send you the notice.

If you do not co-operate with us

We encourage you to help us at all stages of our checks. If there is a genuine reason
why you cannot keep an appointment or give us what we ask for, please tell us as
soon as possible. It is a criminal offence to intentionally prevent us from carrying out
our checks or not give us the information we have asked for.

Criminal prosecutions

If we find that you have deliberately broken the law we may prosecute you.
The criminal offences regarding NMW and NLW can be accessed at
www.gov.uk/government/publications/enforcing-national-minimum-wage-law

Publishing details of employers who break national minimum wage law

If we find you have paid any of your workers less than the NMW you will be
automatically named by BIS under the BIS NMW Naming scheme. This is because
the payment of the NMW is very important and the public should be aware of the
employers who fail to comply with NMW rules. You will not be named until after the
HMRC investigation has concluded.

As the employer, we will remind you that you will be named by BIS in a case closure
letter issued by HMRC after we have completed our checks and are satisfied that the
arrears of minimum wage have been paid to workers.

The case closure letter will also set out the exceptional circumstances when BIS will
not name an employer.

You will have 14 days from the date the case closure letter is issued to send
representations to BIS outlining whether you fall under any of these exceptional
criteria:
naming by BIS carries a risk of personal harm to an individual or their family
there are national security risks associated with naming in this instance
other factors which suggests that it would not be in the public interest to name
you/the company - please provide details

For more information on the BIS NMW Naming Scheme, go to
www.gov.uk/government/publications/enforcing-national-minimum-wage-law


Your adviser

If you want to appoint an adviser to act on your behalf, you will need to send us a form 64-8. You can get one of these from our website. Go to www.gov.uk/government/publications/
tax-agents-and-advisers-authorising-your-agent-64-8

If you prefer, you can get one by phoning the officer that wrote to you, or by phoning our orderline on 0300 200 3610.

Your rights and obligations

Your Charter’ explains what you can expect from us and what we expect from you. For more information, go to www.gov.uk/hmrc/your-charter
NMW and NLW rates

You can check current and past rates of NMW and NLW, go to www.gov.uk/
national-minimum-wage-rates

Workers’ rights

Workers are legally protected from being sacked or victimised because they have
complained about not being paid the NMW or the NLW.

More information

If you want more information:

phone us on the number on our covering letter

go to www.gov.uk/national-minimum-wage

The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) produces detailed guidance about the NMW, go to www.gov.uk/national-minimum-wage

The Acas Helpline provides free, confidential advice in over 100 languages. You can phone Acas
on 0300 123 1100.

Employment Tribunals

Appeals against NMW issues are considered by an independent body, Employment Tribunals.

For more information:

go to www.gov.uk/employment-tribunals

phone 0300 123 1024 (England/Wales)
0141 354 8574 (Scotland)

minicom +44 (0) 1509 221564

In Northern Ireland, contact the Industrial and Fair Employment Tribunal:

go to, www.employmenttribunalsni.co.uk

phone 028 9032 7666

Customers with particular needs

if you need extra help to deal with this please let the officer that wrote to you know. For example, if:

English is not your first language

you would like us to use a certain format to communicate with you, such as Braille
or Text Relay. If you use Text Relay by textphone dial 18001 + number,
by phone dial 18002 + number

you would like us to visit you at home

If you are unhappy with our service

If you are unhappy with our service please contact the person or office you have been dealing with. They will try to put things right. If you are still unhappy
they will tell you how to complain.

Our factsheet ‘C/FS Complaints’ also tells you how to complain. You can get a copy of this from our website. Go to www.gov.uk/complain-to-hm-revenue-and-customs

If you prefer you can write to:

Complaints Central Clearing
Team Manager
Ground Floor
1 Munroe Court
White Rose Office Park
LEEDS
LS11 OEA

You will need to tell us the reference number and the address of the office that last wrote to you. Say exactly what you think has gone wrong and what you think we should do to put it right. These notes describe in general terms what is likely to happen. If you would like more details contact the HM Revenue & Customs office shown on the covering letter.