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HMRC internal manual

National Minimum Wage Manual

Enforcement & Proceedings: Employer contacts solicitor during civil enforcement


Occasionally, the act of commencing enforcement proceedings is sufficient to encourage employers to contact the solicitor acting on behalf of HM Revenue & Customs (NMWM02030). In these circumstances the solicitor will encourage the employer to pay through their payroll the full arrears presented in the notice of underpayment.

Employer challenges arrears

If the employer claims that the arrears are incorrect the solicitor will consider whether the employer had;

  • previously raised this point and whether it was satisfactorily dealt with,
  • unsuccessfully argued this point in an appeal to the employment tribunal (industrial tribunal in Northern Ireland) and if not, why not,
  • presented new evidence which should be considered by a NMW Officer.

As NMW Officers undertake impartial investigations (NMWM12150), obtaining evidence from both employers and workers, it is likely that most, if not all, of the evidence will have been obtained and considered during the course of an investigation. It is not expected that an employer will be able to successfully challenge the arrears at this late stage of the enforcement process and it is most likely that the solicitor will encourage the employer to pay the full arrears presented in the notice or tribunal judgment.

Employer offers to pay workers by instalments

If the employer seeks to avoid civil proceedings by offering to pay workers by instalments the solicitor will treat such an offer as an acknowledgement of the debt. The solicitor will not enter into any arrangement on behalf of HM Revenue & Customs or workers. However, if the offer of repayment is significant, and at least what is likely to be accepted if presented to a court, the solicitor may approach the NMW Officer to obtain the worker’s view of the offer. If the solicitor considers the offer provides the best chance for the worker to receive timely payment and it is acceptable to the worker the solicitor may recommend to NMW Technical Team that enforcement action should be suspended to allow payment to be made. (This content has been withheld because of exemptions in the Freedom of Information Act 2000)