The Government has announced that rogue employers who do not pay their workers the National Minimum Wage (NMW) will face an increased penalty of up to £20,000 as part of a Government crackdown.
Currently employers that break NMW law must pay the unpaid wages plus a financial penalty calculated as 50% of the total underpayment for all workers found to be underpaid. The maximum penalty an employer can face is £5,000.
The Government plans to increase the financial penalty percentage from 50% to 100% of the unpaid wages owed to workers. The maximum penalty will increase from £5,000 to £20,000. Regulations introducing these new limits are subject to Parliamentary approval and are expected to be enacted this month.
Major record labels involved in this year's Brit Awards are among the latest targets of HMRC's continued crackdown on unpaid internships.
HMRC have written to record labels and event companies warning them about the consequences for non-payment of the NMW for any unpaid interns they take on. HMRC intend to follow up these letters with compliance visits later in the year to ensure the rules are being followed.
Michelle Wyer, HMRC's Assistant Director NMW, said:
'Non-payment of the National Minimum Wage is not an option, it's the law, and we're letting the music industry know that we've got them in our sights. If they are not playing by the rules, now is the time to put things in order.
Last year we fined over around 800 employers, so our message is clear: if you are not paying your interns, but should be, come forward now and put things right to avoid a penalty.'
Internet link: Press release