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National Minimum Wage

Volume 406: debated on Wednesday 11 June 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry how many employers were (a) cautioned and (b) prosecuted in each of the Inland Revenue's regions in 2002–03 for failing to pay the national minimum wage; how many employees were affected; what the total was of arrears; what the penalties were; and if she will make a statement. [118111]

The National Minimum Wage Act 1998 contains a number of provisions empowering enforcement officers to take civil action against non-paying employers and the Inland Revenue always uses these in the first instance.In 2002–03, 1,996 employers were found not to be complying with the minimum wage regulations, with approximately 7,373 workers benefiting directly from the Inland Revenue's investigations.In addition, the Inland Revenue identified over £3.5 million in arrears. The majority of employers complied without further action being needed and only 26 enforcement notices were issued. To date there have been no criminal prosecutions in relation to underpayment of the minimum wage.