Complying with the National Minimum Wage

12th June 2017

HMRC recently published a list of excuses used by employers for not paying workers the National Minimum Wage:

  • The employee wasn’t a good worker so I didn’t think they deserved to be paid the National Minimum Wage
  • 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
  • The National Minimum Wage doesn’t apply to my business

So, how can employers prove they are complying?

The Low Pay Commission in their Spring 2016 report recommended that the Government consider introducing a requirement (to employers) that the payslips of hourly paid staff be made to clearly state the hours for which they are being paid.  The National Minimum Wage Low Pay Commission Report Spring 2016 suggests that part of the problem of enforcing the minimum wage is uncertainty regarding the hours for which staff are being paid.

In response to this UNISON have argued for clearer pay statements so that workers could be assured they had been paid at least the National Minimum Wage/National Living Wage. Incorrect recording of hours worked  and therefore subsequent underpayment, is likely an important driver of non-compliance.

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