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Taxman 'must better enforce NMW rules'

08 April 2011
Categories: News , Low Pay Commission , national minimum wage
Low Pay Commission report calls for stronger action against abuses

HMRC must be more rigorous in their policing of employers' abuse of the rules that apply to the national minimum wage (NMW), according to the Low Pay Commission (LPC), an independent, stautory, non-departmental public body.

In its 12th report, published this week, the LPC insists ‘stronger action needs to be taken on enforcement’ by the Revenue, to prevent breaches of NMW regulations – awareness of which should be raised among businesses via government publicity.

The new document, National Minimum Wage, cites a number of occasions in which stakeholder evidence – from low-paid workers and the organisations and unions by which they are represented – raised concerns about maltreatment of individuals’ right to the NMW.

The LPC highlights worries ‘about the lack of enforcement action when abuses were reported to HMRC’ and recommends that department officials ‘investigate whether contract and agency cleaners in hotels [are] receiving their minimum wage entitlement’.

In relation to internships, the report notes that, according to government representatives, the Revenue receives ‘few complaints’ about NMW abuses, while the terms within ads seeking interns is ‘often insufficient’ evidence for the department to act.

However, ‘intervention by HMRC at the point of job advertisement was favoured by all the organisations that attended the oral evidence session on interns’.

'The LPC chairperson, David Norgrove, remarked, ‘We received evidence this year which indicated a number of employers were ignoring minimum wage rules with regard to internships and some other forms of work experience. We believe raising awareness of the minimum wage rules and more effective enforcement [by the Revenue] are the best ways to tackle this misuse.’

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