Hackney beauty businesses blitzed in minimum wage clampdown

Beauty businesses are easy targets for employers flouting Nation Minimum Wage regulations

Beauty businesses are easy targets for employers flouting Nation Minimum Wage regulations - Credit: Archant

A clampdown on minimum wage breaches in beauty businesses across Hackney found employers potentially owed staff more than £3,500 in unpaid wages.

Officers from HM Revenue and Customs teamed up with representatives from the council – including trading standards and environmental health – the police and the Home Office, to visit seven nail bars in the borough.

The blitz on Tuesday was part of an ongoing campaign to raise awareness of the national minimum wage, which started last year when the teams targeted chicken shops.

Enforcement teams were also looking for businesses that were not in full compliance with regulations such as health and safety, employing illegal workers, trading standards or licensing laws.

Alongside the five employees who were owed a total of £3,500 in unpaid wages, findings included an unlicensed business which was closed down. Three people were arrested for potential immigration offences and 11 nail technicians were also found to be unregistered.

More than 1,000 counterfeit cigarettes were also seized, some of which were gift wrapped.

Deputy Mayor of Hackney Sophie Linden said: “We already know the majority of businesses are good businesses, paying at least the national minimum wage. It is the small minority that exploit their staff that we are determined to find.

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“In Hackney we want all businesses to go one step further and pay their staff the London living wage and help make Hackney a fair pay borough, where nobody is expected to do a hard day’s work for less than they can reasonably live on.”

The operation also found four businesses suspected of VAT and tax irregularities, two businesses which had no process for the safe disposal of dangerous chemicals and two others which had inadequate ventilation.

Employers not paying at least the national minimum wage could be fined, find themselves having to backdate pay to an employee and end up in court.

Anyone aged 21 and over should receive the national minimum wage of £6.50 per hour. For under 21s the wage is £5.13, and under 18s £3.79. Different rules apply to apprenticeships.

Anyone who believes they are not being paid this can call the Pay and Work Rights Helpline on 0800 917 2368.