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Just when you thought you had heard them all! Top 10 excuses given for not paying the minimum wage…

11 April 2014 #Employment

The national minimum wage (NMW) is a set minimum hourly rate of pay to which most workers are entitled.  All employers are obliged to pay NMW, irrespective of their size.  

Despite being in place since 1999, it is hard to believe that some employers still do not pay NMW.  Interestingly, HMRC has revealed the 10 worst excuses given by employers, which include:

  • I don’t think my workers know anything about the NMW because they don’t speak English
  • 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 its right to ignore the rises in NMW
  • It wasn’t a conscious decision to say ‘I’m not going to pay this’, but I’ve never really considered doing it because I’ve not had enough people come to me and say, ‘I’m not getting paid enough’ or ‘Is this the minimum wage?’
  • I know I am paying them too little, but they are happy to work for this amount because they are getting experience

Perhaps the favorite has to be an employer who said a woman on the premises was not entitled to NMW as she was his wife.  When asked what his wife’s name was the employer said ‘err...her name, err what’s your name love?’”!

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”.    

NMW rates are reviewed each year and are set to rise with effect from 1 October 2014 (see our HR Facts & Figures for more information on the changes). 

Clarkslegal, specialist Employment lawyers in London, Reading and throughout the Thames Valley.
For further information about this or any other Employment matter please contact Clarkslegal's employment team by email at by telephone 020 7539 8000 (London office), 0118 958 5321 (Reading office) or by completing the form on this page.
This information is for guidance purposes only and should not be regarded as a substitute for taking legal advice. Please refer to the full General Notices on our website.

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