I am an adult worker, and believe I'm being paid below the National Minimum Wage. How can I complain?

From 1 April 2017, the National Minimum Wage (NMW) hourly rate for an adult aged 25 or older is £7.50. The hourly rate for adult workers aged 21 to 24 is £7.05. All current NMW rates are available on GOV.UK.

If you are being paid less than this, there are various ways you can raise the issue:

  • If you feel able, you should raise it directly with your manager. This is a clear legal right, and employers can be fined for not paying the NMW. If your employer takes action against you for raising it, you do have legal protection against dismissal or detriment for asserting a statutory right.
  • If you are a trade union member, you should call in the union.
  • You can call the Acas Helpline on 0300 123 1100 for advice on your right to be paid the National Minimum Wage.

With your consent, the Acas Helpline Officer can pass your complaint to the NMW enforcement team at HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC).

HMRC is responsible for making sure employers and employment agencies pay the National Minimum Wage. HMRC has a team of enforcement officers with powers to fine employers and to "name and shame" them by including them in a public list of non-payers.

The fine can be as much as double the amount the employer owes. HMRC officers can also enter premises, inspect records, interview employers and pass information on to workers.

HMRC can collect under-payments of wages below the National Minimum Wage on behalf of workers. Most claims are settled when the employer receives an under-payment notice from HMRC.

You also have the legal right to inspect your employer's pay records, accompanied, if you prefer, by another person of your choice. You must tell your employer that you will be accompanied when you give notice asking your employer to produce the records. Your employer must produce the records within 14 days.

Individual workers can also bring a claim in the employment tribunal for National Minimum Wage arrears. Any claim must be brought within three months of the most recent non-payment. In the employment tribunal, only two years of arrears can be recovered, but up to six years of arrears can be recovered in a civil court claim.

Trade unions are experts at enforcing the NMW. If you are not a union member, browse our Union Finder tool to find out which union best suits your needs, and to discover more about organising to secure union recognition at your workplace.

Note: This content is provided as general background information and should not be taken as legal advice or financial advice for your particular situation. Make sure to get individual advice on your case from your union, a source on our free help page or an independent financial advisor before taking any action.