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Wednesday, 3 October 2023

Help getting paid the National Minimum Wage

If you believe you are being underpaid you can see your employer’s National Minimum Wage records, or ask HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) to investigate for you. You can contact the Pay and Work Rights Helpline for free, confidential advice.

What to do first

You should start by trying to make sure you have calculated your pay correctly. Most employees have the right to be given a written document setting out their rate of pay or how it is calculated. If you think you are not getting the National Minimum Wage (NMW), you can first of all try talking to your employer, who may have simply made a mistake.

Checking your employer’s NMW records

If you are still not satisfied after talking to your employer, you are entitled to be shown their pay records. You have to ask them in writing, and they have to produce the records within 14 days of your request, or at a date which you agree with them.

You can take someone else with you to inspect the records, as long as your written request says that someone will be coming with you. Who you take along is your choice – your employer has no say in this. You can copy the records if you want to.

What if you prefer not to approach your employer?

Pay and Work Rights Helpline

Confidential help and advice on the NMW

0800 917 2368

If you don't want to speak to your employer, you can call the Pay and Work Rights Helpline and ask for help in claiming the NMW.

Your complaint can be investigated on your behalf and your employer could be ordered to pay you any back pay you are owed (‘arrears’). Since the 6 April 2009, you are entitled to have any arrears paid at the current NMW rate, if it is higher than the rate in force when the arrears came about.

Claims to Employment Tribunals and civil courts

You can complain to an Employment Tribunal if your employer won’t let you see their pay records. If you win your case, the Employment Tribunal will order your employer to pay you an amount equal to 80 times the hourly rate of the NMW in force at the time they make the order.

If your employer fails to pay you arrears, HMRC can bring a case to an Employment Tribunal or civil court on your behalf to recover the money. Alternatively, you can bring your own case for unlawful deductions from wages, or a breach of contract through an Employment Tribunal (if your employment has ended) or through a civil court.

If your employer dismisses you for particular reasons related to the NMW, the dismissal will be automatically unfair and you can complain to an Employment Tribunal. The reasons are:

  • that you took, or said you would take, any action to get what is due to you under the National Minimum Wage Act
  • that your employer was prosecuted as a result
  • that you qualify, or will or might qualify, for the NMW

You can also complain to a Tribunal if you believe your employer is victimising you in some other way, short of dismissal, for those reasons.

Where to get help

The Pay and Work Rights Helpline gives confidential help and advice on the NMW and can handle calls in over 100 languages. If you aren’t being paid the NMW you can make a complaint to the Pay and Work Rights Helpline.

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