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Employment Agency Standards Inspectorate and National Minimum Wage Enforcement Unit

Question for Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

UIN 187245, tabled on 26 April 2021

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, if he will publish a classification of the matters being investigated by the (a) Employment Standards Agency Inspectorate and (b) HMRC National Minimum Wage enforcement team for the 2020-21 annual reporting period.

Answered on

29 April 2021

HMRC National Minimum Wage team investigate matters classified as non-payment of the national minimum wage. In spite of the pandemic, 2020/21 was another successful year for HMRC’s minimum wage enforcement activities. HMRC investigated over 2,700 businesses and closed almost 1,000 cases with arrears, secured more than £16.5 million in arrears for more than 155,000 workers, and issued 575 penalties amounting to over £14 million. HMRC continue to take strong action against the most serious non-compliant businesses and as of March 2021 there are 24 employers in a Labour Market Enforcement Undertaking, and 15 employers have been prosecuted for NMW offences since 2007.

Over the course of 2020/21, the HMRC Promote team facilitated nearly 800,000 employers and workers to seek further information in relation to the minimum wage.

This included:

- Sending more than 400,000 texts to apprentices regarding the risk of underpayment from unpaid training time;

- Writing to nearly 200,000 employers and workers;

- Producing a variety of webinars and educational videos that accumulated nearly 20,000 views.

In addition to the above, the “Calculating the Minimum Wage” guidance had nearly 50,000 views; and there were almost 9,000 views of the work experience and intern’s guidance.

There were more than 400 full time employees on average involved in HMRC’s enforcement of the minimum wage over the 2020/21 reporting year.

The Employment Agency Standards Inspectorate also continued to investigate all complaints throughout 2020/21 and undertook proactive inspections of employment businesses. These included issues concerning non-payment or withholding earnings, being charged to find work, contractual disputes, lack of clarity of deductions, advertising of roles, and failure to obtain either sufficient information from a hiring company or work-seeker. It investigated a total of 1631 complaints in the 2020/21 period and undertook 151 pro-active investigations.

Answered by

Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Named day
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