Reading my copy of PIRC’s quarterly Work newsletter, I see that there’s no mention of the budget / timetable for the proposed Single Enforcement Body (SEB) that we are hoping to see from the UK government.
There is an ongoing consultation on the UK’s labour market enforcement strategy though. Overseen by Margaret Beels, who was appointed in November 2021, the SEB will set the strategic direction for the 3 existing labour market enforcement bodies:
- the Employment Agency Standards Inspectorate
- the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority
- HMRC’s National Minimum Wage Team
PIRC’s own review of employment-related violations among the FTSE 350 reveals only 8 PLCs have been caught by HMRC for underpayment of wages between 2016-2019.
As they point out, this could be evidence that it isn’t happening, or that it isn’t getting detected. As any union official will tell you, the smart money is on the latter alternative, sadly.
According to research from Unchecked, UK employers can expect a visit from HMRC’s national minimum wage inspectors once every 500 years.
There is now just one labour market inspector per 20,000 workers. So let’s assume abuses are undetected rather than absent.
Update: I’ve just been given very late notice of a couple of meetings with Margaret Beels – details here.