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Unpaid Work: Minimum Wage

Question for Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

UIN 1951, tabled on 13 February 2020

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will make it his policy to (a) record and (b) name businesses that breach national minimum wage rules as a result of unpaid work trials.

Answered on

24 February 2020

The Government is clear that anyone entitled to be paid the National Minimum Wage (NMW) or National Living Wage (NLW) should receive it. We are committed to cracking down on employers who fail to pay the NMW/NLW.

The current law makes clear that anyone who carries out “work” for an employer is entitled to the NMW/NLW. Where HMRC enforcement officers identify that there has been an underpayment, including for breaches related to unpaid working time, they may issue a Notice of Underpayment instructing the employer to pay the workers the arrears they are owed, and a penalty of up to 200% of those arrears.

In cases where the total arrears are over £500, the Government considers publicly naming the employer via the NMW Naming Scheme. We publicly name in most eligible cases (almost 95%), and exemption from naming is only granted in the very limited circumstances set out in the NMW enforcement policy document on gov.uk.

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