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HMRC internal manual

National Minimum Wage Manual

HM Revenue & Customs
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Enforcement & Proceedings: Approach for enforcement action via criminal proceedings

Relevant legislation

The legislation that applies to this page is as follows:

* National Minimum Wage Act 1998, section 31 


The approach taken to consider enforcement action via a criminal investigation involves the close working of three parties;

  1. The NMW Officer,
  2. NMW Technical Team and
  3. Criminal Investigation

NMW Officer

The NMW Officer is responsible for identifying those cases where a referral to Criminal Investigation is appropriate. Such cases are usually identified in the few cases where the behaviour of an employer results in an NMW Officer having to cite their investigative powers prescribed in legislation (NMWM12210).

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

NMW Technical Team

The NMW Technical Team reviews each case prior to passing the matter to the criminal investigators to consider starting an investigation.

The review will focus on two primary areas;

  • Has the NMW Officer followed the appropriate operational process leading up to the referral? (This content has been withheld because of exemptions in the Freedom of Information Act 2000)
  • Has the investigation satisfactorily identified that national minimum wage legislation applies? (This content has been withheld because of exemptions in the Freedom of Information Act 2000)

The NMW Technical Team will resolve any queries with the investigating NMW Officer prior to referring the case for potential criminal investigation.

Criminal Investigation

The HM Revenue & Customs (NMWM02030) Criminal Investigation Directorate will risk score each case referral before agreeing to start a criminal investigation. If a case is selected for investigation an officer from Criminal Investigation will contact the NMW Officer for further background information. The criminal investigator will lead the criminal investigation, keeping the NMW Officer informed as appropriate.

If the case should proceed to a hearing it is likely that the NMW Officer will be required to provide evidence of their role in the investigation. In these circumstances Criminal Investigation will be responsible for leading the prosecution and ensuring that the NMW Officer is suitably supported.