National Minimum Wage – The Current Situation

Suzanne Tanser

Suzanne Tanser


19 Oct 2018


The National Minimum Wage has been the focus of many legal cases recently, with everything from sleep-in shifts and whistleblowing, to national naming and shaming for firms failing to pay the NMW.

With so much going on, it can be easy to lose track of what you need to be aware of, and what the latest ruling is. So, here is a quick rundown of all decisions, deadlines, and data you need to be aware of.

Sleep-in shifts

A ruling on 13th July 2018 stated that employees are not entitled to the NMW if they are working a ‘sleep-in’ shift unless they are actually working. The ruling marked a dramatic turnaround, as previous cases of a similar nature had ruled in favour of the employee. Employers, particularly those working in the care sector, breathed a sigh of relief when the ruling was announced. However, it is worth bating your breath, as an appeal to the ruling has already been put forward, and the decision could be overturned in the near future.


It was recently reported by HMRC that whistleblowing regarding the NMW increased by 134% since last year. If that figure frightens you—it should—employers can receive fines up to 200% in arrears for NMW underpayments. Perhaps even worse than the financial damage is the reputational damage. Some big names were called out in the last round of naming and shaming. No firm is exempt, no matter its size or status.

Naming & shaming

Public naming and shaming of employers failing to pay the NMW has now occurred twice in one year. This kind of press fails to take into account that most underpayments are down to simple errors and are not malicious in nature.

Nearly 240 employers were called out in July, and approximately £1.4 million was paid out to 22,400 workers.

Paying the National Minimum Wage

To avoid NMW whistleblowing and subsequent naming and shaming, take care when reviewing your pay systems.  A common reason employers get caught out is that they deduct uniforms and other expenses from employees’ wages, dipping them below the NMW. Another common reason is failure to pay for travel time.

NMW rates change every April; make sure you comply with the updated rates and look out for any errors. This is a good time to conduct a salary benchmarking review, to make sure your pay rates are both compliant and competitive.

Finally, keep up to date with any legislation changes, such as the ‘sleep-in’ ruling. A good way to do this is to subscribe to our Solutions Newsletter, and receive updates on the latest HR, health & safety, and Pay & Benefits news stories.

Expert Support

For support on any these issues, please contact a Croner expert today on 0808 145 3381

About the Author

Suzanne Tanser

Suzanne Tanser is the Reward Manager at HR and reward specialists Croner. Suzanne is a pay & benefits expert who has a long history of working in the legal services industry.




Suzanne Tanser

Free to Download Employer Resources

  • Pay Awards & Forecast (September 2018)


    Pay Awards & Forecast (September 2018...

    Read Croner Reward's expert settlement and forecast report for September 2018

    Read more
  • Sample Health & Safety Policy Statement


    Sample Health & Safety Policy Stateme...

    Here we’ve included a free sample Health & Safety Policy Statement that UK business owners can refer to.

    Read more
  • Pay Awards & Forecast (June 2018)


    Pay Awards & Forecast (June 2018)

    Read Croner Reward's expert Settlements and Forecasts report for June 2018

    Read more
  • How Much Does Employee Turnover Cost Your Business?


    How Much Does Employee Turnover Cost ...

    A recent Glassdoor survey revealed that almost 35% of hiring professionals expec...

    Read more
  • Staff Turnover: What Do You Need to Know?


    Staff Turnover: What Do You Need to K...

    Having a high worker turnover can have mean two things: A negative impact on you...

    Read more
  • What is Wrongful Dismissal?


    What is Wrongful Dismissal?

    If you breach an employee’s contract, you could be liable for wrongful dismissal...

    Read more
  • bemrose-school-derby


    Bemrose School Derby

    “Having Croner-i saves us a lot of time and money, as we do not have to use cred

    Read more
  • wmtr



    “I’d definitely recommend the Croner OnSite services and I have done already, I

    Read more
  • certikin



    “Our Distribution Manager had a particularly technical query relating to respira

    Read more

Ready to focus on what you do best?

Get your free consultation and speak to an expert today.