On 2nd January 2017, HMRC revealed ten of the most bizarre excuses used by unscrupulous bosses found to have underpaid workers the National Minimum Wage.

Excuses for not paying staff the minimum wage include only wanting to pay staff when there are customers to serve and believing it was acceptable to underpay workers until they had ‘proved’ themselves.
The list of the 10 most bizarre excuses was published on 2nd January 2017  to coincide with a new 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 £1.7 million campaign aims to make sure workers are being paid at least the National Minimum Wage, or National Living Wage, depending on their age, and is part of the government’s commitment to making sure the economy works for all.
Investigators from HMRC have revealed some of the worst excuses given to them by employers caught out for underpaying staff, which include:

  • 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.

By law, 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.
We always advise our clients about the National minimum wage increase in order to comply with the law.
Follow below the national minimum wage table:
Current rates

Year25 and over21 to 2418 to 20Under 18Apprentice
October 2016 (current rate)£7.20£6.95£5.55£4.00£3.40
April 2017£7.50£7.05£5.60£4.05£3.50

These rates are for the National Living Wage and the National Minimum Wage. The rates change every April.
Please Contact our Payroll specialist Adriana Dogaru if you have any question.
Email: payroll@verticeservices.com | Telephone: 020 7328 8338

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