You can appreciate this isn’t a simple process and can be stressful, even if you are convinced you have not done anything wrong. Check your contracts. If staff don’t have contracts or they haven’t been signed and returned, rectify it immediately.
The NMW rates are well publicised and most often it is an ignorance of the rules that trips employers up. However, ignorance of the rules isn’t a defence.
It isn’t difficult for an employee to make a claim – there is a ACAS helpline or the employee can complain directly to HMRC. If HMRC find against the employer, they send them a notice for the arrears together with a fine. If the employer still refuses to pay then HMRC can take them to court. Finally, an employee can of course take their claim directly to an employment tribunal.
What not to do
In August, it was reported that 191 named companies failed to pay £2 million to more than 34,000 workers. It is worth looking at where employers got it wrong:
• 47% wrongly deducted pay from workers’ wages, including for uniform and expenses.
• 30% failed to pay workers for all the time they had worked, such as when they worked overtime.
• 19% paid the incorrect apprenticeship rate.
It would be an hour well spent to re-read the regulations, which are available online at acas.org.uk.
David Wright is a consultant in all aspects of employment practice and law. He is the main employment law consultant for Habia and provides a personalised support service for UK salons. 01302 355372 / davidwrightpersonnel.co.uk