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HMRC have began working together with Hackney council, Home Office Immigration Enforcement and police attempting to crackdown on businesses who have failed to pay their employees the National Minimum Wage. Seven businesses were visited, where 5 employees were found to be owed over a possible £3,500 in unpaid wages. Beauty industries were targeted, where officers exploited employers who were disregarding the law by not meeting the minimum wage, employing illegal workers, or committing alternative licensing/environmental offences.

Assistant Director of HMRC’s National Minimum Wage Team, Tracy Kirkman said:

“Paying the national minimum wage is not optional – it’s the law. It is unacceptable for employers to cheat staff and HMRC are pleased to work with Hackney council and other partner agencies to ensure the rules are being followed, and take action where they are not.

“We know from experience that the beauty industry is an area which can often be non-compliant in paying the National Wage and we are determined to make sure that workers in this sector receive our support and that employers follow the rules.

“Last year, over 22,000 workers were underpaid by businesses across the UK and got back a share of over £4.6 million as a result of HMRC’s actions.

“Where we find an employers ignoring the rules, we will ensure arrears are paid in full and the employer is fined. In the most serious cases, criminal prosecution can follow. Anyone who believes they are not being paid the National Minimum Wage can call the Pay & Work Rights helpline on 0800 917 2368.”

Of the seven Hackney businesses visited, officers revealed:
– 11 unregistered nail/beauty technicians
– One business without a license – this was closed down
– Four businesses suspected of irregularities in VAT & income tax
– Five people owed £3,500 in wage underpayment
– Three people were arrested for breaches of immigration:
-Two Vietnamese individuals had entered the country illegally
-A 52 year old Malaysian woman had overstayed her visa

Cllr Sophie Linden, Deputy Mayor said:

“We already know the majority of businesses are good businesses, paying at least the national minimum wage. It is the small minority that exploit their staff that we are determined to find. By carrying out regular joint operations like this we can continue to catch employers who flout the law by not paying their employees at least the national minimum wage.

“In Hackney we want all businesses to go one step further and pay their staff the London Living Wage and help make Hackney a fair play borough, where nobody is expected to do a hard day’s work for less than they can reasonably live on.”

HMRC have the power to act against those businesses who fail to meet the national minimum wage flagyl how long to work. These employers could find themselves paying a fine, will have to backdate pay to those employees underpaid, and wind up in court. Hackney council intends to continue monitoring businesses in the area, passing on the necessary information to the Revenue & Customs.