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HMRC internal manual

National Minimum Wage Manual

Issuing notices of underpayment: when to issue a notice

Relevant legislation

The legislation that applies to this page is as follows:

  • National Minimum Wage Act 1998, sections 17 & 19

A notice of underpayment will normally be issued whenever a NMW Officer has completed an investigation and identified that arrears of national minimum wage were owed by an employer to one or more of their workers on the date of contact at the start of the investigation.

An employer’s reasons for underpaying national minimum wage should not be taken into account when determining whether to issue a notice. For example, it is immaterial whether or not an employer claims that an underpayment of national minimum wage was accidental.

A notice should be issued when an employer has only partly repaid arrears before the start of an investigation. For example, by repaying only the underpayment and not the full arrears calculated in accordance with the formula when rates have increased since the underpayment was originally made. 

Before a notice of underpayment is issued the NMW Officer must ensure:

  • the investigation has been fully concluded; and
  • there is sufficient evidence to determine that arrears are due; and
  • it is appropriate to issue a notice; and
  • the figure presented in the notice are correct

It is never appropriate to issue a notice of underpayment before the NMW Officer has fully determined their view or where there is insufficient evidence. A notice must not be issued as some form of leverage to encourage the production of further information from an employer.

A notice of underpayment should always be issued unless certain circumstances apply (NMWM13040).

(This content has been withheld because of exemptions in the Freedom of Information Act 2000)

Cases to Refer to the Business Unit Head before Issuing a Notice

(This content has been withheld because of exemptions in the Freedom of Information Act 2000)

  • (This content has been withheld because of exemptions in the Freedom of Information Act 2000)
  • (This content has been withheld because of exemptions in the Freedom of Information Act 2000)
  • (This content has been withheld because of exemptions in the Freedom of Information Act 2000)
  • (This content has been withheld because of exemptions in the Freedom of Information Act 2000) NMWM13040(This content has been withheld because of exemptions in the Freedom of Information Act 2000)

When to Contact the Operational Advisory Team before Issuing a Notice

(This content has been withheld because of exemptions in the Freedom of Information Act 2000)

  • (This content has been withheld because of exemptions in the Freedom of Information Act 2000) NMWM13070(This content has been withheld because of exemptions in the Freedom of Information Act 2000)
  • (This content has been withheld because of exemptions in the Freedom of Information Act 2000) NMWM13040(This content has been withheld because of exemptions in the Freedom of Information Act 2000)
  • (This content has been withheld because of exemptions in the Freedom of Information Act 2000) NMWM13040(This content has been withheld because of exemptions in the Freedom of Information Act 2000)
  • (This content has been withheld because of exemptions in the Freedom of Information Act 2000) NMWM13120(This content has been withheld because of exemptions in the Freedom of Information Act 2000)
  • (This content has been withheld because of exemptions in the Freedom of Information Act 2000) NMWM13200(This content has been withheld because of exemptions in the Freedom of Information Act 2000)
  • (This content has been withheld because of exemptions in the Freedom of Information Act 2000)