More employers who fail to pay the national minimum wage will be publicly named and shamed from October, employment relations minister Jo Swinson has revealed.
The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) already has a scheme in place to name employers who breach minimum wage laws, which came into effect on 1 January 2011.
However, there are currently seven criteria to meet before an employer could be referred to BIS from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) for naming. For example, the minimum amount of minimum wage owed to workers must be at least £2,000 and the average per worker at least £500.
The revised naming scheme will strip back these restrictions and make it simpler for the government to name more employers who break the law.
The new rules are part of government efforts to toughen up enforcement of the minimum wage and increase compliance across all sectors.
A government investigation into 90 residential and home care providers earlier this year identified particularly high levels of non-compliance with minimum wage regulations in social care. Separate research by King’s College London suggests that this may affect at least 150,000 social care workers.
“Paying less than the minimum wage is illegal,” said Swinson. “If employers break this law they need to know that we will take tough action.”
David Norgrove, chair of the Low Pay Commission, welcomed the move. “The Low Pay Commission has been disappointed that only one person has been named under the scheme up until now and has encouraged the government to reconsider the rules.
“To name more employers who do not pay the minimum wage should encourage greater compliance and help the low paid.”
Public sector trade union GMB said the government should go a step further and enable unions to report “rogue employers” to HMRC.
If you think you are being paid below the national minimum wage, call the government’s Pay and Work Rights Helpline on 0800 917 2368