Government head to tackle workplace exploitation

Sir David Metcalf has been named as the government’s first director of labour market enforcement, to oversee a crackdown on exploitation in the workplace, including tackling minimum wage violations, which will include wider sharing of HMRC data

In his new role Metcalf, who was chairman of the migration advisory committee until August 2016, will set the strategic priorities for HMRC’s national minimum wage (NMW) enforcement team, the gangmasters and labour abuse authority, and the employment agency standards inspectorate.

For the first time, these three agencies will pool their intelligence, allowing the new director to draw on centralised information to draw up an annual strategy targeting sectors and regions which are vulnerable to unscrupulous employment practices.

The announcement comes ahead of the launch of a £1.7m national minimum and living wage awareness raising campaign planned for later this month. It is designed to help make sure workers receive the correct rates of pay when they increase on 1 April 2017 and know what steps to take if they do not.

Metcalf said: ‘I’m very excited to be taking on this new role, drawing together the important work of these three labour market enforcement teams.

‘While the UK is by and large a fair and safe place to work, there are still rogue employers who exploit their workers and undercut honest businesses. As the government has made clear, this will not go unpunished.’

In his Autumn Statement the Chancellor pledged an extra £4.3m a year in funding for national minimum and living wage enforcement.

The new director of labour market enforcement will report to the Home Office and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

An economist by background, Metcalf is currently an emeritus professor at the London School of Economics. He is a previous member of the senior salaries review body and was a founding member of the Low Pay Commission, on which he served for 10 years.

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