Estate and letting agents have come under fire before for paying less than the minimum wage, and now they could be fined under a new workers’ watchdog if they don’t comply.
A comprehensive new authority has been confirmed by the government today that will become a ‘one-stop shop’ for tackling modern slavery, enforcing the minimum wage and protecting agency workers.
As well as enforcing all existing powers currently belonging to three agencies, the new body will have the ability to ensure vulnerable workers get the holiday pay and statutory sick pay they are entitled to – without having to go through a lengthy employment tribunal process.
The workers watchdog will continue the successful ‘Naming and Shaming’ scheme, which calls out companies who fail to pay workers what they are owed and can hit rogue employers with fines of up to £20,000 per worker.
Business Minister, Paul Scully, said: “This government has been absolutely clear that we will do whatever we can to protect and enhance workers’ rights.
“The vast majority of businesses want to do right by their staff, but there are a minority who seem to think the law doesn’t apply to them. Exploitative practices like modern slavery have no place in society.”
In due course, the government will provide guidance on best practice for businesses.
Last year, research from Rayner Personnel found that over half of agents earn less than the UK average salary.