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National Minimum Wage (NMW)
HMRC guidance at NMWM09060 makes it clear that employees need to receive an actual money payment for National Minimum Wage (NMW) purposes. CRYPTO10100 confirms that HMRC do not consider cryptoassets to be money. NMWM09060 also confirms that payment via vouchers, stamps or similar documents which can be exchanged for money, goods or services are not counted towards NMW. It is most likely that cryptoassets would meet this definition and are therefore not treated as meeting the NMW regulations.
To avoid a NMW liability (criminal and civil) plus the risk of penalties, employer’s should consider paying part of an employee’s salary in fiat sterling (to cover NMW for their hours worked). It is recommended legal advice is sought on this matter and for drafting the employment contracts. In addition to covering the part payment in sterling and part payment in cryptoassets, clauses in the employment contract may address price fluctuations and regulatory issues.