Investigators from HMRC have revealed some of the worst excuses given to them by employers caught out for underpaying staff.
This coincides with a new government awareness campaign designed to help employees know how much they are legally entitled to.
All workers should be paid at least the National Minimum Wage (according to their age up to 25 years), or National Living Wage (£7.20 per hour if aged 25 years or older). Increased minimum levels will be introduced on 1 April 2017.
Top Ten Bizarre Excuses for Underpaying Employees
HMRC investigators have published the most bizarre excuses given to them by employers found to be underpaying their staff:
- 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 three 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.
In a go
vernment press release, Business Minister Margot James says: “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.”
Matthew from Consensus HR comments: “Well we have seen it all now! It is unbelievable that these practices are still happening, despite employers continually being told the correct amount.”
He adds: “The Government is starting to come down hard on this. All employers must check the current rate and ensure their teams are paid the right amount. The financial penalty for failure is increasing and excuses will not be accepted.”