More than 2,400 employees in the care sector have been paid below the national minimum wage over the past two years, according to an investigation by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).
HMRC looked at jobs across the sector and investigated 224 employers, with some investigations still ongoing.
Eighty-eight cases have been found to be non-compliant, with employers paying staff below the national minimum wage, set at £6.31 for adults.
Care workers are now in line for nearly £340,000 in back pay, while employers are facing £110,00 in penalties for breaking the law.
The main reasons offered by care sector employers for not paying the minimum wage included:
- Making illegal deductions, such as uniform costs.
- Not paying for time spent training or travelling between care jobs.
- Charges for living accommodation.
- Incorrect hourly pay rates.
- Incorrect use of apprentices rates.
Jo Swinson, employment relations minister, said: “Government will take tough action on employers that break the law, as we can see through HMRC’s investigation into the care sector.
“As well as financial penalties, employers that don’t play by the rules can be named and shamed, and may even be prosecuted.”
Richard Summersgill, director for local compliance at HMRC, added: “This sends a clear message to the care sector that paying the national minimum wage is the law, and we will act when we find people not following the rules.”