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HMRC internal manual

National Minimum Wage Manual

Enforcement & Proceedings: Worker takes own proceedings

Relevant legislation

The legislation that applies to this page is as follows:

  • National Minimum Wage Act 1998, section 28


If a worker believes they have not been paid the national minimum wage, they may commence legal proceedings against their employer to recover arrears in either:

  • the employment tribunal (in Northern Ireland, the industrial tribunal) - as an unlawful deduction from wages claim or a breach of contract claim, or
  • the County Court (in Scotland, the Sheriff Court) - as a breach of contract claim.

In such circumstances they will be responsible for obtaining their own legal advice and representation. There are fees and time limits for a worker wanting to make a claim which they should check with the respective court, tribunal or with an independent legal adviser.

If a worker takes their own claim to a tribunal or court any periods covered by such action will be excluded from any investigation undertaken by HM Revenue & Customs (NMWM13020). Furthermore, HM Revenue & Customs will remain impartial and not support any party in respect of legal proceedings in which it is not a direct party. If approached, the only information a NMW Officer may supply will be restricted to copies of information directly attributable and/or previously supplied by them. For example, a worker could be supplied with copies of correspondence or information previously provided by or sent to that worker; it would not include copies of any correspondence belonging to HM Revenue & Customs which originated from an employer or third parties, nor any other internal communications or review documentation.

Any request by any party to attend a hearing as a witness will be politely declined. The only circumstances where a NMW Officer will attend a hearing as a witness in a case taken by third parties is where ordered to do so by a court (NMWM22312).