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National Minimum Wage: A reminder for employers, students and seasonal staff

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Following a recent National Minimum Wage (NMW) campaign targeted at employers of apprentices (see my blog here.) HMRC are now reminding students and seasonal staff to make sure that they’re paid the relevant NMW rate for any work they carry out over the summer.

All workers are legally entitled to be paid the NMW, this includes temporary seasonal staff, who often work short-term contracts in the leisure and hospitality sector over the summer. A reminder of the NMW rates for summer staff can be found here.

HMRC have advised workers to not only make sure they are paid the appropriate hourly rate, but also that there are no deductions or unpaid working time which could then reduce their pay below the National Minimum Wage, as these are the two main causes of underpayment.

Examples which are particularly pertinent in the hospitality sector, are deductions for the cost of uniform or clothing required for the job and the need to attend ahead of the shift starting time e.g. to open up and change into uniform etc. Beyond these however, errors in calculating pay including the incorrect inclusion of tips are also matters on which HMRC will focus.

Employers who don’t pay the NMW can be publicly ‘named and shamed’ and those who fail to comply could also face criminal prosecution. HMRC investigate every NMW complaint, in the 2020-2021 tax year HMRC helped 155,000 workers across the UK to recover more than £16 million in pay. It’s therefore crucial that employers undertake checks to make sure the appropriate level of NMW is paid.

If you have any concerns regarding NMW, please get in touch with your usual contact. You can find contact details on the Our People section of the Larking Gowen website. Alternatively, call 0330 024 0888 or email

Tessa Brown



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Larking Gowen


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