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Firms risk fines for paltry pay rates

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09/01/2007

The Government has announced its intention to fine firms £200 for each worker that they pay under the statutory national minimum wage.

The national minimum wage rate went up to £5.35 an hour last October, a Government saving and investment initiative that benefited more than a million people.

However, last year over 1,500 employers were revealed to be not paying the minimum wage to more than 25,000 workers, trying to make a saving and investment gain by so doing.

If workers make a complaint that they are not getting the minimum wage, Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) investigate the matter. If the employer is breaking the law, HMRC has the power to order companies pay the arrears within seven days.

Employers who fail to pay the minimum wage also risk criminal prosecution and a further £5,000 fine if they continue to disregard the rules, so there is no saving and investment to be gained by doing so.

Trade and Industry secretary Alistair Darling said: “Workers have the right to a decent minimum wage and we are determined they get it.

“To those employers avoiding the minimum wage the message is: Don’t pay it and you’ll pay the fine.

“In the last year alone the Government’s enforcement teams across the UK helped over 25,000 workers get more than £3m back in unpaid wages.”

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