This week, the government released a third ‘name and shame’ list of businesses that have failed to pay their staff National Minimum Wage since April 2016. As part of that list, HMRC have recorded some of the genuine excuses given by the businesses in question.
The most common reason for not paying the full amount was that “the employee wasn’t a good worker so I didn’t think they deserved to be paid the National Minimum Wage”. Others thought that it wasn’t part of UK culture to pay young workers for the first three months “as they have to prove their worth first”.
Responding to the findings, the Government is to launch a £1.7m awareness campaign on 1 April, to ensure that workers are receiving at least the minimum NMW.
Here is a list of the strangest excuses given to HMRC by businesses in the UK for underpaying National Minimum Wage (NMW).
- 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 three 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.
Business Minister Margot James said: “There are no excuses for underpaying staff what they are legally entitled to. This campaign will raise awareness among the lowest paid in society about what they must legally receive and I would encourage anyone who thinks they may be paid less to contact Acas as soon as possible.”