A £1.7million advertising campaign by the Government to encourage staff to check if they are being illegally underpaid has revealed the excuses, via HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC), that employers have given for not paying the National Minimum Wage.
The National Minimum Wage is set to rise to £7.50 an hour for those above 24-years-old this April, and will increase again the following year. It is £6.95 an hour for those between 21- and 24-years-old, and £5.55 an hour for those between 18- to 20-years-old.
The Government has fined approximately 700 companies a cumulative figure of £1.3million, making them pay back £3.5million in the process, since February 2013.
Margot James, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Small Business, Consumers and Corporate Responsibility and MP for Stourbridge, said: “There are no excuses for underpaying staff what they are legally entitled to.”
The campaign will, James hopes, build awareness for those in low-paid about what they “must legally receive.”
Baron Beecham, a Labour peer, commended James’ “fine words” and added that “it’s time they took steps to enforce the law.”
“Too often companies are skimming their profits out of the pockets of their workforce. It is a continuing reminder that for too many working people, work in this country just does not pay.
“We will only make serious progress towards stamping out wage abuse and raising workers out of poverty when we have a solid floor beneath workers’ feet.
"That means restoring the collective bargaining arrangements that would see fairer wages negotiated and protected – and working with unions to ensure workers are paid what they deserve.
“Only serious action like this will prevent the further slide into the low waged, insecure work which is destroying living standards for millions in this country.”
The ten worst excuses for not paying minimum wage can be found on the next page.