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Shameless excuses “unscrupulous bosses” use for not paying National Minimum Wage

The government has listed the ten most outrageous excuses that “unscrupulous bosses” use to avoid paying their staff the National Minimum Wage.
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With the National Minimum Wage and National Living Wage set to increase on 1 April 2017, the government has introduced a £1.7m campaign to raise awareness to that workers know how much they should legally be earning.

The current National Minimum Wage for those aged 25 and over is £7.20 and set to increase by 30p to £7.50. Elsewhere, from 1 April, the National Minimum Wage rate for other age groups too:

  • Those aged 21 to 24 will receive £7.05 per hour at an increase of 10p
  • Those aged 18 to 20 will receive £5.60 per hour at an increase of 5p
  • Those aged 16 to 17 will receive £4.05 per hour at an increase of 5p
  • Those on the apprentice rate will receive £3.50 per hour at a rate of 10p per hour

Alongside the campaign announcement, the leaders guilty of paying under the National Minimum Wage were dubbed “unscrupulous bosses”, as HMRC listed the ten utterly shameless excuses for avoiding to pay workers what they’re entitled to.

Business minister Margot James, said: “There are no excuses for underpaying staff what they are legally entitled to. This campaign will raise awareness among the lowest paid in society about what they must legally receive and I would encourage anyone who thinks they may be paid less to contact Acas as soon as possible.

“Every call is followed up by HMRC and we are determined to make sure everybody in work receives a fair wage.”

The ten most outrageous reasons for paying under the National Minimum Wage cited include:

(1) The employee wasn’t a good worker so I didn’t think they deserved to be paid the National Minimum Wage.

(2) It’s part of UK culture not to pay young workers for the first three months as they have to prove their ‘worth’ first.

(3) 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.

(4) She doesn’t deserve the National Minimum Wage because she only makes the teas and sweeps the floors.

(5) 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.

(6) 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.

(7) 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.

(8) 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.

(9) My employee is still learning so they aren’t entitled to the National Minimum Wage.

(10) The National Minimum Wage doesn’t apply to my business.

Image: Shutterstock

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About Author

Zen Terrelonge

Zen Terrelonge is the deputy editor of Real Business, specialising in media, innovation, technology and the digital sector. A media professional with eight years worth of experience he has worked for both startup and established publications.

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