Minimum wage is a completely non-negotiable figure that differs depending on an employee's age. Adults aged over 21 must receive a minimum of £6.50 an hour, 18-20 year olds are given £5.13, and 16-18 year olds take home at least £3.79.
A recent report released by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) has brought to light the full extent of some employer's failure to pay national minimum wage to their workers. The 37 firms will be fined a total of £51,000 and must also pay affected staff the £177,000 they were underpaid. Welcome Break said a new IT problem contributed to the mistake, while H&M blamed time logging errors.
The biggest culprit is Hertfordshire Estate Agent, Kings Group; this organisation's main company cost 53 workers a total of £53,809, while their sister company Kings Group Lettings LLP underpaid 49 staff for a total of £26,893.
When an employer deviates from providing fair pay they are in direct violation of the National Minimum Wage Act 1998, and a failure to provide the amount of money due is certainly grounds for an employment law tribunal.
Along with the financial consequences, an employer may also face public exposure on the matter which is clearly an undesirable prospect. In order to avoid being on the receiving end of this double penalty employers must ensure they are compliant in paying workers at least the National Minimum Wage.
If you have concerns regarding minimum wage issues please contact one of our Employment Law Experts on 01279 755777.