Employers’ excuses for not paying the minimum wage
To coincide with the 15th anniversary of the National Minimum Wage (NMW), HMRC has revealed some of the more unusual reasons given by employers for not paying their employees the legal wage:
- One employer claimed that a worker was his wife but when asked his wife’s name, was unable to reply.
- Another said that as their employees didn’t speak English, they weren’t entitled to the minimum wage.
- A further said ‘When the NMW goes up I do increase the amount I pay a little, even if the total pay is still below the NMW. I don’t think it’s right to ignore the rises in NMW.’
- Another employee ran out of the premises when HMRC officers arrived to check for NMW infringements. The same employee then returned – minus the work pinafore – pretending to be a customer.
Jennie Granger, Director General of Enforcement and Compliance, HMRC, said:
‘Most employers are honest and pay their staff the correct rate. But this research shows that some still view the National Minimum Wage as a choice and will even try these crazy excuses to avoid paying workers what they are due.’
HMRC investigates all complaints of employers failing to pay minimum wage. Last year, HMRC’s investigations resulted in over 26,000 people getting a share of £4 million in back pay.