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15.01.14

Larger fines for failure to pay minimum wage

Employers who fail to pay the minimum wage could be fined up to £20,000 per employee, business secretary Vince Cable is to announce.

Previously employers faced a maximum fine of £5,000, plus a financial penalty of 50% of the missing wages. The new regulations will apply to every worker denied the minimum wage. The legislation will be introduced in the Queen’s speech.

Cable will say: “Anyone entitled to the national minimum wage should receive it. Paying anything less than this is unacceptable, illegal and will be punished by law. So we are bringing in tougher financial penalties to crack down on those who do not play by the rules. The message is clear – if you break the law, you will face action.

“As well as higher penalties, we have made it easier to name and shame employers who fail to pay their workers what they are due. We are working with HM Revenue and Customs to investigate non-compliance and facilitate prosecutions in the most serious of cases. We will also make sure that every complaint made to the free and confidential pay and work rights helpline is looked at.

“The national minimum wage plays an important role in supporting low-paid workers whilst making sure they can still find work. Enforcing this is a key to fairness in our workforce.”

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