By Daniel Hunter

Norman Lamb, Minister for Employment Relations, has today taken the move of naming an employer under the BIS Scheme for naming employers who flout National Minimum Wage (NMW) law.

Leicester based hair and beauty salon owner, Mrs Rita Patel trading as Treena Professional Hair & Beauty, neglected to pay £3,361.22 in arrears of the NMW to a former worker following an investigation by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), which has resulted in HMRC enforcing the debt through the court.

HMRC’s investigation showed that over a period of four-and-a-half months, Mrs Rita Patel paid only £342.00 to a worker in her hair and beauty salon. Under the NMW Act the worker was in fact legally entitled to £3,703.22 for work undertaken during that period.

“The law is clear. Any worker who is entitled to the minimum wage should receive it, that’s why we are committed to clamping down on those who break the law," Norman Lamb, Minister for Employment Relations said.

"Where arrears of the minimum wage are identified by HMRC they will always be pursued. There is no excuse for not paying the NMW in the first place but failing to pay on being required to do so by investigators from HM Revenue and Customs is unacceptable.”

The Government is committed to deterring employers who would otherwise be tempted not to pay the NMW and recognises that bad publicity is an effective way of doing this. In future the Government will publicise cases where arrears of wages have to be enforced through the courts. HMRC already issues a press release where an employer has unsuccessfully appealed against a Notice of Underpayment requiring them to pay arrears of wages.

The BIS scheme to name employers who flout minimum wage law came into effect on 1 January 2011. The scheme is one of a range of tools at the Government’s disposal to tackle this issue. Employers who pay workers less than the minimum wage have to pay back arrears of wages at current minimum wage rates and face financial penalties of up to £5000. In the most serious cases employers can be prosecuted.

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