Increased risk of national minimum wage fines

Joe Pickard, 3 September


usinesses in the UK are facing an increased risk of receiving heavy fines for unintentional national minimum wage (NMW) breaches, according to Grant Thornton UK.

Grant Thornton’s warning follows HMRC intensifying its focus on NMW breaches, which has included a 99% increase in its enforcement budget to £26.3m ($36.4) since 2016 and growth in the number of dedicated NMW enforcement officers from 330 in 2017 to more than 450 today.

The UK government has also increased the potential penalties facing businesses found to have underpaid their employees, which have risen from 50% of the arrears owed to workers in 2014 to 200% of the underpayment today. In 2019-2020 this led to over £18.5 million in penalties being levied in over 3,300 closed investigations.