Business

Hair and beauty salons in north in major clampdown on wages

The taxman is clamping down on hair and beauty salons in the north

THE taxman is to target hair and beauty salons in Britain and Northern Ireland in its latest drive to clamp down on firms which pay their staff below the national minimum wage campaign.

There are 55,000 businesses in the hair and beauty sector in the UK, employing 250,000 people, and the typical hourly rate of pay is £7.11 compared with £11.61 in other sectors.

The National Hairdressers' Federation and the Hair and Beauty Industry Authority say they will work with work with HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) and the hair and beauty businesses to help them stamp out rogue traders.

HMRC say they will provide employers with tailored tools and guidance to check if they are paying the correct amount, and put it right where they are not.

And employers who take the opportunity to self-correct will not have to pay penalties, nor will they be ‘named and shamed'.

"If employers choose not to comply with their NMW obligations, HMRC will take action to ensure that employees are paid what they are owed," HMRC enforcement director Jennie Granger said.

“This innovative campaign is about helping employees who have been under-paid get the money they are legally due back into their pockets. It will help them understand where they can report underpaying employers confidentially.

“It is also about helping employers check if they are making mistakes, and self-correct if they are. Some employers will need a bit of a reminder to check they are getting it right, and some will need stronger action from us, so we are bringing in more enforcement officers to support this campaign.

“I urge all employers and employees in the sector to check that salary is being paid correctly, as we will use these extra resources to find and investigate where it is not. Check you're paying the national minimum wage correctly – it's worth it.”

HMRC action to tackle employers who fail to pay the minimum wage identified £3.2 million in arrears involving more than 26,000 workers across a range of sectors in 2014/15 alone.

It's thought that 42 per cent of businesses in the hair and beauty sector do not pay level 2 and level 3 apprentices the correct minimum wage – the highest underpayment rate of any sector.

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