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Minimum wage fines to quadruple to £20,000

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Until now rogue employers had to pay all the underpaid wages plus a fine of 50 per cent of unpaid wages up to a maximum of £5,000. The per cent figure will now rise to 100 per cent.

Business secretary Vince Cable is expected to say: “Anyone entitled to the national minimum wage should receive it. Paying anything less than this is unacceptable, illegal and will be punished by law.

“So we are bringing in tougher financial penalties to crackdown on those who do not play by the rules. The message is clear – if you break the law, you will face action.

“The national minimum wage plays an important role in supporting low-paid workers whilst making sure they can still find work. Enforcing this is a key to fairness in our workforce.”

Neil Carberry, the CBI’s Director of Employment and Skills, said: “Non-compliance with the minimum wage rate is unacceptable. Those not paying the minimum rate should feel the full force of the law and repeat offenders should be named and shamed.”

If approved, the new rules will come into force next month. 

Frances O’Grady, general secretary of the Trades Union Congress, said: “The plans announced today to quadruple penalties for rogue bosses who cheat staff out of the minimum wage should make employers think twice before illegally underpaying their staff.

“It’s great that the penalties for flouting the minimum wage have been raised and that it’s easier to name and shame offending employers. It’s crucial now that HMRC is given the resources they need to enforce these new rights properly.”

The minimum wage currently sits at £6.31 per hour, but there have been recent rumblings among government MPS about plans to raise it by 50p or more. 

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