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Blog  »  September 2017  »  National Minimum Wage (NMW) in the news again - Blog
Sep 17

Posted by
Jennie Hussey

National Minimum Wage (NMW) in the news again

A junior minister has revealed that shortfalls in national minimum wage (NMW) payments hit a record £10.9m in 2016, affecting up to 100,000 employees.

Some of the country’s well-known retailers were caught out by failing to pay staff correct wage rates, including John Lewis & Tesco. Tesco stated that it had paid their staff less than the NMW when a new payroll system was introduced, leaving 140,000 of its employee’s being short-changed nearly £10m between them. John Lewis also blamed a payroll error when it was discovered they had breached the NMW laws to the tune of £36m.

Charles Cotton, performance and reward advisor at the CIPD said there were various reasons for shortfalls in payments from employers – “…employers may be ignoring the law and exploiting their workers…another is that the employer doesn’t fully understand the legal requirements…so it is important that employers are aware of the rules.”

This is not the first time NMW underpayments have been brought to light this year, we recently posted a blog on the government's name and shame scheme where 233 employers had to pay back £2m to underpaid workers. And also the release of a recent survey by the Dept. for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) indicated that 1 in 5 apprentices have not been receiving the mandatory minimum wage. The survey discovered that the number of apprentices receiving less than the NMW they are entitled to rose sharply from 13% for those aged 16-18 to 32% for those aged 19-20.

Underpayments occurring since April 2016 have been subject to a penalty of 200% of the value of the underpaid amount – capped at £20,000 but this does not seem to have had the desired effect of discouraging employers from breaching the rules.

It is extremely important that organisations pay the wage rates that they are legally obliged to. Employers that are found to be deliberately flouting the law should also be prosecuted, so that good companies aren’t undermined by bad ones.


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Posted in Company handbook, Contract of employment, Employee Contracts, Employee Handbook, Employee Records, Employment Contract, Pay/Wage, Staff Handbook, Wages


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