National Minimum Wage – is there a reason for not paying it?

23 March 2017

The answer is very definitely ‘No’.

The government has published a list of the strangest excuses given by employers for failing to pay the National Minimum Wage (NMW). The list was published to coincide with a campaign to encourage workers to check their pay to ensure they are receiving at least the statutory minimum ahead of the national minimum and national living wages rising from the first pay period on or after 1 April 2017.

The list of excuses included the following:

  • The employee wasn’t a good worker so I didn’t think they deserved to be paid the NMW.
  • I thought it was ok to pay foreign workers below the NMW as they aren’t British.
  • I’ve got an agreement with my workers that I won’t pay them the NMW; they understand and they even signed a contract to this effect.
  • My workers like to think of themselves as being self-employed and the NMW 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 NMW.
  • The NMW doesn’t apply to my business.

We appreciate margins may be tight however by law all workers must be paid at least £7.50 an hour from April if they are aged 25 years and over, or the National Minimum Wage rate relevant to their age if they are younger.

From April 2017, the NMW rate will increase to:

£3.50 an hour for apprentices* (an increase of 10p)
£4.05 an hour for 16 to 17 year olds (an increase of 5p)
£5.60 an hour for 18 to 20 year olds (an increase of 5p)
£7.05 an hour for 21 to 24 year olds (an increase of 10p)

*under age 19 or 19 and over and in the first year of an apprenticeship agreement.

Do you need Employment law support? Understanding Employment Law and what you must adhere to as an employer is a hot topic at our nationwide roadshow of events. To find the next event in your area, visit our events page.

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