Despite the National Minimum Wage being law since April 1999, some employers continue to flout the law. HMRC investigators have made public some of the reasons unscrupulous employers gave when quizzed on why they did not pay the legal minimum.
HMRC's List of Employer Excuses
The list of excuses comes just months after the Government was criticised for the low number of prosecutions for not paying the wage. The maximum penalty is £20,000 per worker.
• The employee wasn’t a good worker so I didn’t think they deserved to be paid the National Minimum Wage.
• It’s part of UK culture not to pay young workers for the first three months as they have to prove their “worth” first.
• I thought it was OK to pay foreign workers below the National Minimum Wage as they aren’t British and therefore don’t have the right to be paid it.
• She doesn’t deserve the National Minimum Wage because she only makes the teas and sweeps the floors.
• I’ve got an agreement with my workers that I won’t pay them the National Minimum Wage; they understand and they even signed a contract to this effect.
• My accountant and I speak a different language – he doesn’t understand me and that’s why he doesn’t pay my workers the correct wages.
• My workers like to think of themselves as being self-employed and the National Minimum Wage doesn’t apply to people who work for themselves.
• My workers are often just on standby when there are no customers in the shop; I only pay them for when they’re actually serving someone.
• My employee is still learning so they aren’t entitled to the National Minimum Wage.
• The National Minimum Wage doesn’t apply to my business.
The current Minimum Wage rates are:
||Minimum Wage (Current)
||Minimum Wage (Effective from 1st April 2017)
|25 years old and over
||£7.20 per hour
||£7.50 per hour
|21 - 24 years old
||£6.95 per hour
||£7.05 per hour
|18 - 20 years old
||£5.55 per hour
||£5.60 per hour
|16 - 17 years old
||£4.00 per hour
||£4.05 per hour
|Apprentices under the age of 19 or 19 years old and in the first year of their apprenticeship
||£3.40 per hour
||£3.50 per hour
About the Author
Philip McCabe is an experienced employment lawyer who has been advising businesses and individuals on a wide range of employment and HR issues since 2000.
He is a member of the Employment Lawyers Association, Industrial Law Society, and Law Society. He regularly writes for national publications on employment law issues and is a regular columnist in the Derbyshire Times.