National Minimum Wage and National Living Wage - rates and overview

Minimum wage enforcement and penalties


The National Minimum Wage and National Living Wage can be enforced in a number of different ways, including:

  • by Compliance Officers of HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC)
  • by a worker making a claim in an industrial tribunal or court
  • in the case of agricultural workers, through Agricultural Wages Inspectors (who can also enforce the agricultural minimum wage)

There are six criminal offences relating to the minimum wage and you could face an unlimited fine for committing the more serious offences.

HMRC Compliance Officers may carry out inspections of employers at any time. There is no requirement on them to provide reasons for an inspection. Officers will act in response to complaints that an employer is not paying the minimum wage, whether the complaint is by workers or others. They will also investigate where they consider there is a risk of non-payment.

You must pay minimum wage to workers if it is due. If you discover you have paid your workers below minimum wage rates, you must pay any arrears of minimum wage to the workers immediately. Arrears are calculated in accordance with a formula that uses current rates. HMRC Compliance Officers will issue a notice of underpayment to enforce any arrears of minimum wage they find are outstanding at the start of their investigation. They may also impose a penalty.

If you break minimum wage law, you can now also be named publicly.

For more information see National Minimum Wage and National Living Wage - enforcement.

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