Anyone who is defined as a ‘Worker’ (including Employees and Agency Workers) is entitled to the minimum wage (NMW) – you do not need a written contract to be eligible. (Updated 25th May 2021)
It is a legal right that covers all workers above compulsory school leaving age. There are different minimum wage rates for different age groups of workers and we look at all the details in our article here.
There is a Government Helpline 0800 917 2368 and a website that offers more advice and information about the NMW – http://www.nmw.direct.gov.uk/index.html
Your Employer must keep records that show they have paid the NMW for 3 years, and you have the right to inspect these records if you have reasonable grounds to believe you have not been paid the NMW; you may complain to an Employment Tribunal if you are not allowed to see these records. Update – from 1st April 2021, this period has been extended by the Government to six years.
Workers also have a right not to be subjected to any detriment caused by an act of their Employer because the worker had taken action to enforce their statutory right to be paid the NMW.
The National Minimum Wage Regulations are enforced by the HMRC who have compliance and enforcement officers and can prosecute Employers for not abiding by the NMW. From February 2014 the fines for Employers who do not pay their workers the national minimum wage increase from £5,000 up to £20,000. The Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act (approved by Parliament in March 2015), which became effective from 1st April 2016 will allow for the maximum £20,000 penalty for non-payment to apply for each worker who has not been paid the NMW (not just one fine per non-compliance notice).