The new work Tzar, Sir David Metcalf has said that he wants tougher action against employers who underpay workers.
His suggestions include:
- Barring regular offenders who fail to pay the NMW from being company directors.
- Making high street companies jointly responsible if abuses are found amongst their suppliers and seizing their goods to discourage large companies from continuing to work with businesses that flout the laws.
- Providing HMRC with additional resources to investigate underpayments of the NMW
In a report on the scope of his new job Sir Metcalf called for more effective deterrents.
According to the Guardian newspaper Sir Metcalf said: “Over the coming months I will be working with government enforcement agencies and industry bodies to better identify and punish the most serious and repeat offenders taking advantage of vulnerable workers and honest businesses.
”Giving the example of investigations into firms paying less than the minimum wage – where fines average £400 a breach and HMRC conducts around 2,000 investigations a year in a country where 1.3m firms have employees – Sir Metcalf said: “If you put together the low probability of a firm having an investigation and the fairly low fines then – how shall I put this? – I raised my eyebrows. So I will want to look at this.”
Sir David Metcalf, director of labour market enforcement, signalled he wanted tougher action against employers who underpay, and more resources to catch those breaching the law.