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Welfare Reform on the Web (June 2007): Minimum Wage - UK

Enforcing a national minimum wage: the British case

R. Croucher and G. White

Policy Studies, vol. 28, 2007, p. 145-161

Levels of employer compliance with the British minimum wage remain unclear. The current system for enforcement of the national minimum wage relies mainly on publicity and employer self-regulation. Compliance Officers employed by HM Revenue and Customs investigate worker and third party complaints and conduct targeted visits to firms based on risk assessment and information received. This research reveals significant problems with the enforcement process: only a minority of workers in the sample received their legal rights without detriment. For many workers, the process entailed significant costs. The current system of self-regulation may not be suitable where vulnerable workers without trade union support are concerned.

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