Since 1 January 2011, the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) have been able to name and shame by press release employers who fail to adhere to National Minimum Wage (NMW) law. Mrs Rita Patel has been named as the latest offender. Trading as Treena Professional Hair & Beauty, Mrs Patel neglected to pay £3,361.22 in arrears of the NMW to a former worker, following an investigation by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), which has resulted in HMRC enforcing the debt through the court.

Norman Lamb, Minister for Employment Relations said the law is clear, and that all those entitled to the minimum wage should receive it. He added that “where arrears of the minimum wage are identified by HMRC they will always be pursued. There is no excuse for not paying the NMW in the first place but failing to pay on being required to do so by investigators from HM Revenue and Customs is unacceptable.”

Employers must be aware that in future the Government will publicise cases where arrears of wages have to be enforced through the courts. Currently HMRC issues a press release when an employer has unsuccessfully appealed against a notice of underpayment requiring them to pay arrears of wages. The penalties that employers face include being forced to pay back arrears at current NMW rates and pay a fine and in the most serious cases they may be prosecuted. As well as the financial implications of not abiding by the law, employers will also face negative and unwanted publicity.