The National Minimum Wage (NMW) is a minimum amount per hour that most workers in the UK are entitled to be paid. The government has approved a rise in NMW, with more than one million people set to see their pay rise by as much as £355 a year from 1 October 2014.
The increases are as follows:
- the main rate for workers aged 21 and over will increase to £6.50 (currently £6.31)
- the 18-20 rate will increase to £5.13 from £5.03
- the 16-17 rate for workers above school leaving age but under 18 will increase to £3.79 from £3.72
- the apprentice rate will increase from £2.68 to £2.73 per hour.
HMRC released a briefing providing some of the elaborate excuses employers used for not paying the NMW when challenged by HMRC officers. These ranged from one employer claiming his underpaid employee was his wife, but could not remember her name when probed by the officer to another employer claiming that the NMW was not paid to his employees due to their lack of awareness of the rules because they could not speak English!
Penalties may be levied on employers where HMRC believe underpayments have occurred. The potential penalties have increased from 1 February 2014, with HMRC now having the power to ‘name and shame’ non-compliant employers. Anyone who believes they are not being paid the NMW can call the Pay and Work Rights Helpline.
If you have any queries on the NMW please do get in touch.