The National Minimum Wage has been in place for more than two decades. It currently stands at £8.91 per hour for adults over the age of 23 (The National Living Wage), while the lowest figure is £4.30 per hour for an apprentice.
While a sizeable number of breaches will be down to errors or incorrect interpretation of the rules, a few unscrupulous employers are abusing it and have come up with some dubious excuses for not paying what is a legal requirement.
HMRC has listed published some outrageous excuses for not paying:
- She does not deserve the National Minimum Wage because she only makes the teas and sweeps the floors.
- The employee was not a good worker, so I did not think they deserved to be paid the National Minimum Wage.
- My accountant and I speak a different language – he does not understand me, and that is why he does not pay my workers the correct wages.
- My employee is still learning so they are not entitled to the National Minimum Wage.
- It is part of UK culture not to pay young workers for the first three months as they have to prove their ‘worth’ first.
- The National Minimum Wage does not apply to my business.
- I have got an agreement with my workers that I will not pay them the National Minimum Wage; they understand, and they even signed a contract to this effect.
- My workers like to think of themselves as being self-employed and the National Minimum Wage does not apply to people who work for themselves.
HMRC says it has issued more than £14 million in penalties to employers who failed to pay the correct rate of the National Minimum Wage or National Living Wage in the 2020/2021 tax year.
More than £16 million in unpaid salaries was also recovered which should have been paid to more than 155,000 workers across the UK.
For help and advice with matters relating to HMRC, including information on our cost-effective hassle-free payroll service which ensures compliance with minimum and living wage tariffs, please get in touch with our team today.