342,000 jobs were paid below the NMW in 2017

Labour Market Enforcement Strategy published:

The Director of Labour Market Enforcement, David Metcalf, has published his first report detailing the scale of employer non-compliance with National Minimum Wage (NMW) and non-payment of holiday pay. It also sets out his proposals to tackle abuse.


The key findings are that:

342,000 jobs were paid below the NMW in 2017 The total unpaid wages amounted to £3.1 billion in 2016 (over half of which is believed to relate to unpaid holiday pay)£4.5 billion is “misappropriated” from agency workers annually (over half of which is believed to relate to holiday pay)More should be done to make sure that workers are aware of their rights and understand how to enforce them.


The report recommends increasing the size of civil penalties for breaching NMW, increasing the numbers of employers named and shamed on the public registers (although these should concentrate on those who commit serious violations rather than organisations that simply make mistakes) and increasing the number of prosecutions for non-compliance, as there have only been 14 NMW prosecutions since 1999.


The report has been presented to Parliament but is unlikely to be debated unless it is taken up by the BEIS Committee or by the Labour front bench.


Source: United Kingdom Labour Market Enforcement Strategy 2018/19 (HM Government, May 2018)