National Minimum Wage entitlement

What to do if you have not been paid minimum wage

If you have not been paid the correct National Minimum Wage or National Living Wage rate you can try resolving the issue with your employer, even if you no longer work for them.

If you cannot resolve with your employer or former employer, you could either:

  • report to HMRC (HM Revenue & Customs) to investigate
  • make a claim to an employment tribunal

You cannot report to HMRC and make a claim to an employment tribunal at the same time.

Resolving directly with your employer

If you have not been paid the minimum wage, you can try raising the issue with your employer. If there has been a mistake, an informal chat can be the quickest way to resolve it.

It can help if you:

If a minimum wage issue cannot be resolved informally, you can make a formal complaint to your employer. This is called 'raising a grievance'.

If you are not able to resolve the issue with your employer and feel you need to take things further, you can contact the Acas helpline.

We can talk through your options and explain the risks and benefits of each, but we cannot give you legal advice. We also cannot do calculations for you, for example calculate the National Minimum Wage.

Reporting to HMRC to investigate

If you have not been paid the minimum wage you are entitled to, you can make a complaint to HMRC.

Complaints to HMRC can be anonymous.

If HMRC finds that your employer has not paid at least the minimum wage, they can:

  • issue a notice to your employer to pay money owed to you, going back a maximum of 6 years
  • issue a fine to your employer for not paying the correct rate of pay
  • take your employer to court if they refuse to pay

To report a complaint to HMRC, either:

Making a claim to an employment tribunal

If you believe you have not been paid the minimum wage, you might be able to make a claim to an employment tribunal.

How much money you can claim will depend on the type of claim you make. For example, if you make a claim for 'unlawful deduction of wages', you can claim for money owed going back a maximum of 2 years.

Your claim must be started within 3 months of your most recent deduction or underpayment.

To make a claim to an employment tribunal, you must tell Acas first. You will be offered the option of 'early conciliation'.

Find out more about early conciliation and making a claim to an employment tribunal

If you've been treated unfairly because of minimum wage

Your employer should not dismiss you or treat you unfairly (cause you 'detriment') if you:

  • become entitled to a higher rate of the minimum wage
  • assert your right to minimum wage
  • make a complaint to HMRC

Detriment means unfair treatment that leaves you worse off, for example:

  • reducing your hours
  • overlooking you for promotions or development opportunities
  • saying no to your training requests without good reason

If you feel you've experienced detriment or been dismissed because of minimum wage entitlement, you might be able to make a claim to an employment tribunal.

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