HMRC urges workers to ‘check their pay’ as summer National Minimum Wages may be missed

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HMRC has reminded workers, students and seasonal staff specifically, to “check their pay” over the coming months as summer approaches. The Government urged workers to be aware of their rights as employers have been known to pay under the minimums involved.

HMRC detailed all workers are legally entitled to be paid the NMW, even temporary seasonal staff, who often work short-term contracts in bars, hotels, shops and warehouses over the summer.

One would hope this warning would be unnecessary but unfortunately, the Government has been forced to step in and take action against employers in previous years.

In the 2020 to 2021 tax year, was forced to help around 155,000 workers across the UK to recover more than £16million in pay which was due to them.

In light of this, HMRC reminded workers to check their hourly rate of pay, and to also check any deductions or unpaid working time.

HMRC shared the story of Amber, a marketing apprentice, who benefited from HMRC’s enforcement of the NMW.

Amber was concerned she was not being paid correctly, so she contacted HMRC online.

HMRC looked into Amber’s concerns and spoke with her employer.

It turned out, Amber was being underpaid and she received £1,900 in back pay.

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For clarity, the current National Minimum Wage hourly rates are as follows:

  • £8.91 – age 23 or over (National Living Wage)
  • £8.36 – age 21 to 22
  • £6.56 – age 18 to 20
  • £4.62 – age under 18
  • £4.30 – apprentice

Steve Timewell, the Director of Individuals and Small Business Compliance at HMRC, commented on these realities.

Mr Timewell said: “We want to ensure that seasonal workers and students are being paid what they are entitled to and, as the economy reopens, help employers if they are unsure of the rules.

“Workers should check their hourly rate and look out for any deductions or unpaid working time which would reduce their pay. It could take them below the minimum wage.

“HMRC investigates every complaint made about the minimum wage, so whether you are selling sun cream, giving a hotel room a clean, or serving a strawberry smoothie, if you think you are being short-changed you should get in touch.”

HMRC detailed anyone who has not been paid what they’re entitled to can complain via GOV.UK.

Additionally, if affected workers would rather speak to someone, they should phone the Acas Pay and Work Rights Helpline on 0300 123 1100.

Employers themselves can also contact the Acas Helpline for free help and advice or visit GOV.UK to find out more.

This is important to note as employers who do not pay the NMW can be publicly “named and shamed” and those who blatantly fail to comply can face criminal prosecution.

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