Automatic naming and shaming for National Minimum Wage infringements is too inflexible

Following the publication today of the latest list of companies named and shamed for breaching minimum wage rules, Bill Longe, head of employer solutions at RSM said:

‘Whilst it is absolutely right that there are sanctions in place for scoundrel employers who deliberately set out to underpay workers, the automatic naming and shaming of companies that inadvertently fall foul of the complex rules is difficult to accept.

‘The policy of automatic naming and shaming is inflexible and can do unnecessary material damage to the reputation of a company whose only crime is that it has made an innocent error in attempting to operate a complex scheme.

‘HMRC recently updated its own guidance on the enforcement of the National Minimum Wage which explains how employers can work with HMRC to ensure compliance with the regulations and to avoid the financial and reputational penalties when things go wrong. Unfortunately, few people – including National Minimum Wage compliance officers – know about or understand the policy.

‘If HMRC truly wants to encourage employers to operate the NMW rules correctly then it must come forward and promote its policies more clearly and stop the secret under-the-counter amnesties it has adopted in the past.’