Inspectors from the Employment Agency Standards Inspectorate (EAS) led a number of successful visits to businesses in the Sheffield area between 9 and 12 February 2015. EAS inspectors were accompanied by officers from Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC’s) National Minimum Wage (NMW) team.
During the course of the targeted inspection of 15 employment businesses, EAS identified 32 potential breaches of the Conduct of Employment Agencies and Employment Businesses Regulations 2003, as well as a potential breach of the Employment Agencies Act 1973.
The majority of the breaches found relate to the terms being issued to either the work-seeker or hiring company, or information that they were required to collect and pass on to the work-seeker or hirer.
Employment Relations Minister Jo Swinson said:
I am delighted to see the success of this operation and endorse this joint approach by the enforcement bodies. The advice and guidance given on these visits ensures that employment businesses that are reputable become compliant, while those who ignore this advice could be subject to legal proceedings.
It is important that all employment agencies abide by the law. We must make sure that we protect temporary workers and create a level playing field for the vast majority of employment businesses who play by the rules.
The decision to target Sheffield was based on EAS risk assessment data and additional information from HMRC’s NMW team.
The Pensions Regulator also took part in this visit which builds on previously successful joint visits undertaken by EAS and the NMW team. In light of the success of these visits, all parties will review the information and look at other potential areas to target for future joint operations.
Notes for Editors:
- This was the latest of a number of targeted inspections carried out jointly by EAS and NMW team. HMRC was invited along as there have been successful targeted inspections in previous years. The Pensions Regulator was also invited along to certain employment businesses to see how both EAS and NMW team carry out their respective inspections. All of the employment businesses visited by the The Pensions Regulator had started auto enrolling temporary workers into pension schemes, and this was also an opportunity for them to find out more information on how this had been achieved and any issues that had arisen.
- Employment businesses supply workers to other employers, either directly or through a third party. Where the business was responsible for paying workers directly, checks were made to ensure that they had paid workers for all hours worked. Where the business had contracted payroll service out to a third party, such as an umbrella or payroll company, checks were made to ensure that the workers had received proper notification.
- Changes to the National Minimum Wage rates came into force on 1 October 2014.
- Agencies that break the law can face prosecution and courts may impose unlimited fines for the most serious offences. Rogue agencies can also be banned from operating for up to 10 years. A current list of prohibited persons is available at Employment Agency Standards Inspectorate’s (EAS) people prohibited from running an employment agency or business
- Anyone with a complaint about an employment agency or business or not being paid the National Minimum Wage can call the Pay and Work Rights Helpline on 0800 917 2368.