HMRC has identified a record-breaking underpayment of £15.6 million for more than 200,000 minimum wage workers in the UK. The figure has significantly increased from last year, more than doubling and reaching the highest figure since the national minimum wage came into force in 1999.
The sharp increase in underpayment has resulted in a record number of penalties being issued by the government, along with a record number of companies failing to pay the national minimum wage. £14 million in fines have been issued to employers this past year, with 600 employers failing to ay the necessary wages, and 200 of them being publicly named and shamed on the annual list published by HMRC each year.
Where businesses are found to be underpaying the national minimum wage, HMRC instruct, and enforce, them to repay their workforce the shortfall. The scheme recently launched by HMRC to encourage employers to approach them outside of an investigation has also seen some success with £250,000 being returned to almost 700 workers.
"HMRC is committed to ensuring that workers receive the wages they are legally entitled to, irrespective of their employer's size or business sector, and today's figures highlight our success over the last year," Penny Ciniewicz, HMRC Director General of Customer Compliance, said.
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