secures record £4.6m minimum wage arrears for underpaid workers
OVER £4.6 million in wage
arrears has been paid to more than 22,000 workers following a
successful year for HM Revenue and Customs' (HMRC) National Minimum
Wage (NMW) enforcement teams. The new figures show that, in 2013/14, HMRC
Conducted 1,455 investigations.
► Issued 652 financial penalties, worth £815,269
► Found arrears in 47% of cases; the highest strike rate
since NMW was introduced.
► Recovered average arrears of around £205 per worker.
Business Minister Jenny Willott said:- "Paying less than the
minimum wage is illegal and, as HMRC's record shows, if employers
break the law they will face tough consequences.
We want to issue a clear warning to employers who fail to pay the
minimum wage: under the Government's new rules you will be named and
shamed and face a stiff financial penalty. If anyone suspects they
are not being paid the wage they are legally entitled to they should
call the Pay and Work Rights helpline."
Examples of underpayment cases where HMRC has taken action in the
past year include:-
► A Premier League football club was ordered to pay arrears of over
£27,500 to over 3,000 workers after it made deductions for uniforms
and travelling time for staff working in hospitality.
► A social care provider found to have not paid its staff for
travelling time and other hours worked was told to repay over
£600,000 in arrears of wages to almost 3,000 workers.
► A recruitment agency was ordered to pay over £167,000 to workers,
including some it had classified as unpaid interns.
► A multi-outlet retailer, which required its employees to attend
work before and after opening hours without pay, was ordered to
repay almost £77,000 to more than 1,300 workers.
► A north west based employment agency that took deductions for
transport from workers' pay which reduced rates to below the
National Minimum Wage. They were ordered to pay arrears totalling
over £12,000 to almost 700 workers.
► A north west care company that paid back over 100 workers in
excess of £45,000 in arrears after National Minimum Wage officers
identified that not all workers' hours were being paid.
► A nursery in the north west was ordered to pay over £31,000 in
arrears to 11 workers after deductions were made resulting in them
being paid under the National Minimum Wage.
Jennie Granger, Director of Enforcement and Compliance at HMRC,
said:- "Paying the National Minimum Wage is not a choice;
it's the law. HMRC will continue to ensure that workers get at least
the wage to which they are legally entitled. Where an employer
ignores these rules, we will ensure that any arrears are paid out in
full and the employer is fined. Rogue employers be warned; we will
find you and you will pay."
HMRC has 10 NMW compliance teams across the UK, working from 18
locations. In 2013/14, the north west team identified £350,781 in
arrears and in addition issued 93 financial penalties.
Deadline approaches for landlord
licensing scheme consultation
THERE is a less than a week
to go to have your say on proposals to introduce a licensing scheme
for Liverpool's private rented properties. The deadline for
landlords, tenants, residents, businesses and other organisations to
air their views on the scheme is 16 June 2014. This is the chance to
have their say on the proposals, which aim to drive up the
management standards of private rented properties in Liverpool and
address the issue of low demand that the City currently faces. There
is still time to complete a short 10 minute
online questionnaire about the
proposed licensing scheme. The Council's proposals are set out in
full and you can respond to questions around a range of issues,
including whether you are in favour of the proposal. You can also
say if you agree with the proposed conditions attached to the
licence and about the fee structure.
Councillor Ann O'Byrne, cabinet member for housing said:- "It
is vital that we hear your opinions. Citywide Selective Licensing is
a proposal which we believe will improve the management of rented
properties across the City. It is only one of a number of measures
on housing that we are taking, or proposing, to address low demand
and create a better environment for people to live and work in the
City I know that there has been a lot of interest in the selective
licensing proposal and it has triggered a lively debate and we
welcome that. I would urge anybody with an interest to fill in the
questionnaire or register their opinion."
The results of the consultation will then be considered by the
Council before it makes a decision on whether and how to introduce
selective licensing. If a decision is made to introduce a licensing
scheme, it is expected it will come into force in 2015.
Calls for help
from renters in the North West of England soar
THERE has been a record
rise in calls for help taken from renters at risk of losing their
homes in the North West, new figures from the Shelter helpline show.
More than 570 renters at risk of losing their home called the
housing charity for advice in the last year, the equivalent of
nearly 50 callers per month.
In a sign that the private rental market is becoming increasingly
unstable, this figure has increased by nearly 75% from the 329
callers helped by the charity 2 years ago.
Shelter is releasing the figures as part of its campaign to protect
renters from 'revenge evictions'. The charity's research
reveals that 6% of renters in the North West avoided asking their
landlord to repair a problem or improve conditions in the last year
because they feared eviction.
Shockingly, 3% said they had actually been evicted or served with an
eviction notice because they complained to their landlord, letting
agent or Council about a problem that wasn't their responsibility.
Housing Minister Kris Hopkins is currently reviewing whether to
change the law to tackle the problem. Shelter is calling for
stronger protection from eviction for renters who report bad
conditions in their home to their landlord or local authority.
A YouGov survey of more than 4,500 private renters commissioned by
Shelter highlighted how widespread bad conditions in rented homes
have become. 38% of people surveyed in the North West reported
problems with mould, while 26% were forced to live with a leaking
roof or windows, and 18% have had electrical hazards.
Nadeem Khan, a Shelter helpline adviser said:- "We're hearing
from family after family who are living in fear that just one
complaint to their landlord could lead to them being kicked out.
That's why we're fighting to make sure that no one who asks for
their property to be kept safe and decent has to worry about
eviction. It's time now for the government to take action."
The charity found shocking examples of revenge evictions happening
across the Country. Melissa Voisey and her 2 young children were
evicted from their home in Blackburn in February, after asking their
landlord to fix a major damp problem and leaks throughout the
property. "We'd only been living in our home for four
months and as soon as I told our landlord about the damp and leaks,
he said we had to leave.
Suddenly having to find a new home for me and my boys was one of the
most distressing experiences we've had as a family. It's left us all
feeling worried and anxious; and it's had a huge impact on our
finances as well.
I can't believe this is allowed to happen. I wouldn't wish what
we've gone through on anyone."
With England's shortage of affordable homes forcing more people into
private renting every day, Shelter says the problem of revenge
evictions is becoming even more concerning.
Earlier this month, Shelter research showed that over 500 households
across the North West are at risk of losing their home every week
through an eviction or repossession.
Campbell Robb, Shelter's chief executive said:- "This is yet
more evidence of the shocking reality that renters across the
country are facing every day.
With soaring house prices pushing homeownership further out of
reach, more of us are forced to set up home in rented properties
that are expensive, insecure and often in poor conditions.
Calls to our helpline from renters are soaring and revenge evictions
are becoming all too common. Private renting is close to crisis
point: this can't go on.
No one should lose their home for asking their landlord to fix a
problem. The government has to protect England's nine million
renters from unfair evictions."
The YouGov survey was commissioned by Shelter and British Gas as
part of their partnership to improve the conditions of privately
Run for Galloway's!
HERE'S a chance to improve
your health and fitness and help Galloway's Society for the blind at
the same time. For the 10th annual Seaside 10k, Natterjack Running
are proud to have teamed up with Emma Wilson, fundraiser from
Galloway's to help raise money for this local charity. Galloway's
provides personal and friendly advice and support for people living
with sight loss. Providing specialist equipment to help people
regain and maintain their independence, they offer activities and
training courses to help people with sight loss to regain their
confidence, gain new skills and continue leading active lives doing
the things they love. Now you can run the Natterjack Seaside 10k and
raise money to help this worthwhile cause. What a great target to
help you get fitter and faster! The race is open to runners of all
abilities and if you don't feel up to running the 10k, you can still
take part in the 2k fun run. Both runs take place in the beautiful
surroundings of the recently developed Princes Park and Kings
Gardens. Sandwiched between the Spectacular Air Show weekend and the
Musical Fireworks Championships, the Natterjack Seaside 10k takes
place on Sunday, 28 September 2014. There's no better time to be in
Southport! To get involved in the event, visit the race
website or phone us on 01704
534040 for more information. To find out more about Galloway's and
how you can help please contact Emma Wilson via
email or via phone on:- 01704 809109.