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HMRC internal manual

National Minimum Wage Manual

Issuing notices of underpayment: preparing a notice & its accompanying correspondence

NMW Officer’s initial action

The NMW Officer should determine the proposed date of issue of a notice of underpayment and should then prepare:

  • the notice of underpayment and its schedule, and
  • any covering letter(s) necessary to include with the notice.

The NMW Officer should also obtain ready for issue with the notice:

  • the penalty payslip, if a penalty is due to be paid, (NMWM13180) and
  • the notice of underpayment guidance note, and
  • the relevant appeal leaflet and explanatory notes.

A copy of the following should be retained:

  • the notice of underpayment (signed and dated as the original notice), and
  • the schedule to the notice, and
  • the copy of the penalty payslip, and
  • any covering letter or correspondence accompanying the notice (signed and dated as the original).

When two or more individuals or companies are both liable to pay the national minimum wage arrears (NMWM13060), the NMW Officer should prepare separate notices of underpayment addressed to each employer individually and keep a copy of each notice (signed and dated as the original).

Issuing covering letters with a notice

A covering letter should be prepared and issued with a notice of underpayment whenever it is necessary to give an employer information at the same time as the notice is issued. Keep a copy of the covering letter (signed and dated as the original). This will include but, is not limited to, times when:

  • a notice is sent to a sole trader’s home address in addition to their principal trading address (NMWM13080)
  • a notice is sent to more than one liable partner or employer and each needs to be advised that they are jointly liable to pay both the arrears and any penalty (NMWM13060) (NMWM13080);
  • a worker named on the notice does not want their whereabouts disclosing to the employer and the employer needs to be told to send a cheque made out in the individual worker’s name to HM Revenue & Customs; (NMWM13100);
  • a worker named on the notice has died and arrangements have been made to pay their arrears to their Personal Representative (NMWM13120). In these circumstances, the covering letter (NMWM13262) should explain that the employer should pay the worker’s arrears to the Personal Representative, and giving the name and contract address of the Personal Representative.

Please note that if the covering letter makes any reference to legislation and refers to a pay reference periods starting before 6 April 2015, it is preferable to refer to both the 1999 regulations and the 2015 Regulations (NMWM01040). This will help avoid any incorrect suggestion that the notice is ineffective because the “wrong” regulations have been used. Please see Technical Note 01/2015 for further details.

Occasionally it may be necessary to issue additional related correspondence at the same time as the notice itself is issued (NMWM13262).

Informing workers of their arrears

Workers named on the notice are not issued with a copy of the notice, but are informed of their arrears by letter (NMWM13310).

Welsh language

Welsh language versions of notices of underpayment are available and can be issued on request.

Obtaining authority to issue the notice

(This content has been withheld because of exemptions in the Freedom of Information Act 2000) NMWM13270(This content has been withheld because of exemptions in the Freedom of Information Act 2000)