First criminal prosecution over national minimum wage

A children’s nursery owner has been fined £2,500 and £500 costs in the first national minimum wage criminal prosecution case.

Teresa Aguda, owner of Rascals Day Nursery in Walthamstow made a guilty plea to the charge of obstruction which is an offence under the National Minimum Wage Act. Aguda prevented access to staff records by HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) compliance officers who were trying to establish whether nursery workers received the national minimum wage.

The case was prosecuted at the Revenue & Customs Prosecutions Office.

Judge Gott said that Mrs Aguda “demonstrated a clear and deliberate intent to obstruct officers and this was a scandalous breach of the national minimum wage legislation”.

Andy Millican, criminal investigation team leader for HMRC, said: “This prosecution sends a clear message to employers that HMRC and RCPO will actively pursue those we suspect of flouting national minimum wage law. We have a duty to ensure workers receive their salary entitlement.”