Firms warned of fines and penalties in new clampdown on National Minimum Wage breaches

September 6, 2021

South West accountancy firm Milsted Langdon is reminding employers of their obligations when it comes to the National Minimum Wage.

In recent months, HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) has been ramping up its investigation into employers who don’t pay the National Minimum and Living Wage – fining and publicly naming and shaming those businesses that do not meet their obligations. 

The warning from Milsted Langdon, which has offices in Bath, Bristol, Taunton, Yeovil and London, comes during National Payroll Week, which runs until Friday, with the firm’s head of payroll Oliver King calling on employers to check that they are paying the right wages.

“As we mark this important awareness week, we want to remind employers of their obligations to their employees and use this opportunity to get them to check that they are working within the current rules,” said Oliver, pictured.

“We work with a wide range of business, both large and small, and understand the complexities and ever-changing rules surrounding salaries, pensions, and benefits, which is why we are offering our help to employers in need.”

The current National Minimum and Living Wage rates, which came into force on April 1 this year, are:

  • Age 23 and over (National Living Wage) – £8.91
  • 21 to 22 – £8.36
  • 18 to 20 – £6.56
  • Under 18 – £4.62
  • Apprentice – £4.30

Oliver said that employers often get caught out by a change in an employee’s age, for example when they move from one category to another after a birthday and deductions from their wages, such as for a uniform or equipment, and could push their hourly earnings below the legal limit.

“Managing a payroll can be a time-consuming and stressful process and the last thing employers need right now is an investigation or fine from HMRC,” added Oliver.

Alongside breaches of the minimum wage obligations, HMRC is also cracking down on the misuse of the furlough scheme, which finally ends this month.

It has been given funding to launch a dedicated taskforce to seek out employers who have abused the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) or overclaimed.

“The CJRS has undergone many changes since it was introduced more than a year ago and this has led to some employers making mistakes or errors which has also resulted in them claiming too much,” said Oliver.

“Given the potential penalties for those who have misused the system, now is a great time to review claims to ensure there are no errors. If a mistake has been made it should be reported to HMRC as soon as you are made aware to reduce any potential penalties.”

Oliver and his team at Milsted Langdon have played an important role in helping administer the furlough scheme for businesses and remain ready to help others who may need assistance now that scheme is ending.

Milsted Langdon services range from routine compliance matters to specialist tax advice and planning, corporate finance, business intelligence, insolvency, forensic accounting and mediation services.


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