HMRC targets hairdressers in minimum wage campaign

By Susan Cattell, Head of Tax (England and Wales)

30 July 2015

A new campaign launched by HMRC aims to cut down on employers paying less than the national minimum wage across the hair and beauty industry.

HMRC and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), supported by the National Hairdressers' Federation and the Hair and Industry Beauty Industry Authority, will be working with businesses in the hair and beauty sector to help them to understand and apply the minimum wage rules. 

HMRC is responsible for enforcing the national minimum wage and its action has already identified £3.2 million in national minimum wage arrears across a range of sectors and affecting over 26,000 workers in 2014/15. 

BIS analysis has shown that 42% of businesses in the hairdressing and beauty sector are not paying the correct minimum wage to level 2 and level 3 apprentices, which is the highest underpayment rate of any sector.

Employers will have access to tailored tools and guidance to check if they are paying the correct amounts to their employees. 

If they are not they will have to put it right but if they take this opportunity to correct matters they will not have to pay penalties (which can be up to £20,000 per employee) and they won't be 'named and shamed'. 

HMRC will take action against employers who don't take advantage of this opportunity and choose not to comply with their national minimum wage obligations. 

The Summer Budget announced additional funding to expand HMRC's data analytics and enforcement teams and help its compliance activities.

There are 55,000 businesses in the UK hair and beauty industry employing 250,000 people.  Businesses which want to come forward as part of the campaign can find details in HMRC's press release and on HMRC's website.


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