The Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy have confirmed that the ‘Government in clear that employers must continue to pay at least National Minimum Wage to workers’.
HMRC, who act as enforcers of NMW law, will continue to respond to worker complaints and protect workers rights.
In order to support business during the coronavirus crisis, HMRC are providing more education and requesting employers to self-correct where appropriate.
So what about workers temporarily not working, or with reduced hours resulting with reduced pay?
It is critical that employers continue to be compliant with minimum pay law for hours worked. Minimum pay does not apply to hours not worked.
The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme can help employers and workers to manage by supporting part payments for for employees who would otherwise be laid off during this crisis.
Some employers are also considering the provision of advances and loans. What is the NMW impact?
Workers can be paid in advance. When operated they must be recorded either by agreement or on the pay statement. BEIS confirm that ‘Any future deductions … to recover a previous advance of pay – where this is clearly recorded – will not reduce… pay for minimum wage purposes’.
The same applies to loans. Any repayments linked to a loan ‘will not reduce… minimum wage pay’. A loan should be clearly documented with an agreement and repayment plan.