Skip to main content
Published on 10 October 2017

Informing Labour Market Enforcement Strategy 2018/19

The LITRG has recently responded to the Director of Labour Market Enforcement’s consultation document on his 2018/19 strategy, welcoming the Director's arrival and approach, and explaining that labour market exploitation very often manifests itself in problems with tax and National Insurance (NIC). We describe some of the tax and NIC geared exploitation that we are aware of and tell the Director that we do not think HMRC are currently doing enough to counter problems around unscrupulous employers and tax and NIC, particularly where they involve employment intermediaries. 

The role of Director of Labour Market Enforcement was created under the Immigration Act 2016, to bring better focus and co-ordination to the enforcement of labour market legislation. The Director has overarching responsibility for setting the strategic direction of the three labour market enforcement bodies – HMRC National Minimum Wage/National Living Wage (NMW/NLW), Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority (GLAA), Employment Agency Standards Inspectorate (EAS).

The consultation document summarises the issues on which the Director is focusing for his 2018 to 2019 strategy. He is seeking stakeholder views and evidence on three main topics:

  1. Development of the intelligence hub;
  2. Approach to enforcement: issues common to all enforcement bodies; and
  3. Issues specific to each enforcement body.

The consultation document then goes on to say: ‘As this is the first full strategy, the Director is keen to get a broad understanding of compliance and enforcement issues across sectors, therefore if there are additional issues to which you would also like to bring to our attention please do so.

As well as pointing out tax and NIC geared exploitation, especially involving employment intermediaries (as mentioned above), we also look at other issues affecting the the bottom end of the labour market such a non-payment of holiday pay and underpayment of the minimum wage and, importantly, suggest what might be driving this kind of behaviour on the part of engagers.

Amongst other things, we put forward our views as to how the various enforcement agencies (including HMRC) can best share information and work together and whether there could be a greater role for the EAS and the GLAA in helping to protect the lowest paid workers – including potentially those in the gig economy. 

The consultation document can be found on GOV.UK.

The LITRG response can be found here: Informing Labour Market Enforcement Strategy 2018/19 – LITRG response

Meredith McCammond

Back to top