Ten of the most bizarre excuses used by unscrupulous bosses found to have underpaid workers the National Minimum Wage have been revealed in a recent BEIS press release.
The publication of the list on 11 January 2017 was timed to coincide with a £1.7 million awareness 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 on 1 April 2017. The aim is to ensure that workers are being paid at least the National Minimum Wage, or National Living Wage, depending on their age, and is expressed to be part of the government’s commitment to making sure the economy works for all.
HMRC investigators revealed the worst excuses, the following being the "top ten":
- 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 3 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.
What is the National Minimum and National Living Wage rate?
Currently, all workers must be paid at least £7.20 an hour if they are aged 25 years and over, or the National Minimum Wage rate relevant to their age if they are younger.
Launching today, the government campaign is designed to make sure all workers are paid at least the national minimum or national living wage.