Director of Labour Market Enforcement announces measures to help tackle worker exploitation

Morrish SolicitorsEmployment, Site News

The Government’s Director of Labour Market Enforcement, David Metcalf (appointed in January 2017 to oversee the strategic priorities for the government’s three enforcement agencies, HMRC’s National Minimum Wage (NMW) enforcement team, the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority (GLAA) and the Employment Agency Standards Inspectorate (EAS)) has made 37 recommendations. They include:

  • Holiday pay enforcement: Evidence presented to the Director during his consultations suggested that there are billions of pounds of unpaid holiday pay. He suggests that HMRC, or another appropriate state body, should be provided with the powers and remit to take responsibility for the enforcement of holiday pay for all workers, including mechanisms to recover holiday pay arrears.
  • Government agencies should review NMW guidance and should develop a more supportive approach towards companies that ask for advice in order to be compliant.
  • Substantial increase in penalties for NMW non-compliance, together with more pro-active enforcement, including more prosecutions.
  • Joint responsibility in product supply chains on the brand name at the top of the chain. This would see the brand initially taking responsibility to correct non-compliance lower down the chain.

David Sorensen, Partner at Morrish Solicitors, says “ these recommendations, if brought in, would really boost the tackling of exploitation. The Government says it is now considering the recommendations. It will involve business getting their house in better order. Let’s please hope they don’t kick this report into the long grass like so many times in the past”.