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Minimum wages - Reputation and enforcement


Who should attend

HR professionals and in-house lawyers with responsibility for employment policy.


Some employers, with employment models which include minimum wages, are struggling to comply with complex, often ambiguous, regulations. As the national living wage rises, higher-wage employers, including those in the public sector, are also coming into scope without realising how their normal payroll practices make them vulnerable to inadvertent, technical breaches. And because those who run their own business are not entitled to the minimum wage, some companies are using bogus arrangements.

The growing HMRC inspectorate is under pressure to get results and so all employers face increasing scrutiny of their use of labour, including sub-contractors. Even household-name, good-practice employers have been ‘named and shamed’ and subject to multimillion pound liability. As the Director of Labour Market Enforcement prepares to announce his first strategy, in which wages will play a key part, this briefing updates you on policy and case-law developments, media stories, and enforcement action drawing on specialist lawyers who have some alarming client stories.

09.00 registration and coffee, 09.30 start

Your reputation as an employer

  • name and shame and criminal offences
  • broadening scope of minimum wage

Minimum wages – key concepts

  • who qualifies, including home-workers, interns, agency workers and the self-employed
  • five rates: who gets what, including apprentices
  • the basic calculation: amounts (treated as) paid divided by hours (treated as) worked
  • types of work: salaried, time, output, unmeasured

Some problem areas

  • pay averaging, annualised hours and time off in lieu: salaried hours or time worker?
  • what constitutes ‘work’ and ‘working hours’: travel, sleep, waiting, security checks, piece-work
  • what pay is included: overtime, shift premiums, allowances, benefits, salary sacrifice?
  • risk of detriment claims
  • deductions and payments that reduce pay and those that do not: work-wear and equipment, leavers, purchases from employer

Inspection, enforcement, punishment

  • HMRC powers, their interpretation of the Regulations and their obligation to BEIS
  • Labour Market Enforcement Strategy 2018
  • enforcement by the worker
  • record keeping, worker and HMRC access, and the burden of proof
  • small mistakes become big problems: arrears recalculated at today’s rate; fines at 200%

Reviewing your employment model

  • T&Cs, pay, benefits and pensions
  • time incurred v output achieved
  • beware of age discrimination

13.00 close, followed by lunch

Download the full Minimum wages programme.


Dr Duncan Brown
Head of HR Consultancy
Duncan began his career in HR before specialising in reward. He is working on employee financial wellbeing with the CIPD; gender pay reporting; and the implications of the gig economy for BEIS. He was Assistant Director General at the CIPD for five years.

Samantha Mann
Senior Policy & Research Officer
Sam has over 30 years of experience of payroll and serving employers. She works with an increasing number of Government branches such as HMRC, DWP, BEIS, HMCTS plus the Low Pay Commission and Pensions Regulator.

Simon Rice-Birchall
Partner, Employment Law
Simon is supporting clients where HMRC are focusing on complex aspects of the Regulations to investigate allegations of non-compliance.

Andrew Moore
Senior Associate
Andrew is conducting audits for clients to identify potential NMW issues and is advising clients in response to HMRC investigations.

Cost: £249

All prices are exclusive of VAT

Group discount:

10% discount for delegate 2 and subsequent delegates.

Online payment discount: 5%

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