News and Features

Don’t underpay: the Revenue will get you!

HM Revenue and Customs has just launched a new campaign that targets salon owners who pay less than the national minimum wage (NMW).

The National Hairdressers’ Federation has been warning for some time that the Revenue is on the case of the hair and beauty profession, and we’ve reported on this issue more than once in the past.

Now it really gets serious.

The good news is that if you think you have an issue with the NMW, you DO have time to get your house in order.

That’s because the first stage of the Revenue’s campaign is to offer help, advice and penalty-free opportunities for employers who have not been paying the correct wage, provided they report it and put it right.

Jennie Granger, Director General of Enforcement and Compliance at HMRC says: “This innovative campaign is about helping employees who have been underpaid get the money they are legally due, back in to their pockets. It will help them understand where they can report under-paying employers confidentially. It is also about helping employers check if they are making mistakes, and self- correct if they are.”

Unfortunately, the hair and beauty professions have a poor reputation for paying their people correctly.

Obviously, keeping costs under control is vital for small businesses. And so there might be a temptation to try to limit staff costs by paying less than the national minimum wage to some people in the team.

Equally, it’s not always easy to stay right up to date with the latest rules and regulations. After all, no-one goes into the profession because they love paperwork. So salon owners and managers do sometimes get things wrong just because they haven’t got to grips with the details.

But this is an issue that’s been rumbling for some time.

As NHF chief executive Hilary Hall says: “The NHF has been working with HMRC to ensure salon owners get a fair deal and have the opportunity to put right any underpayments. We have created a new guide just on the National Minimum Wage, so now’s the time to get our industry’s pay in order.  Once the campaign has ended, HMRC will be throwing the book at salon owners who continue to break the law by paying less than the minimum wage.  Ignorance will not be an excuse.”

Now is the time to act. You need to know what the NMW is. You also need to know that the NMW is increasing for all categories on the 1st October. AND you need to know about the new Living Wage proposals, recently announced in the Budget, which are due to come into force In April 2016.

You can find more information about the Revenue’s campaign at their special site: www.gov.uk/nmwcampaign

And you can find more information from the NHF on the national minimum wage at: www.nhf.info/about-the-nhf/manifestos-and-campaigns/national-minimum-wage/