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Rogue employer minimum wage excuses are no laughing matter

Most of us have been there at some point, haven’t we? Making up some ridiculous excuse for not completing fairly straightforward tasks.

‘The dog ate my homework,’ being one of the most common or ‘I couldn’t see the alarm because fog came through my open window.’

But in the case of employment, failing to pay staff legally is no laughing matter.

The National Minimum Wage has now been with us for more than 20 years, having been introduced by Tony Blair’s Labour Government in 1998 when the first rate was just £3.60 per hour.

From April this year it stands at £8.91 for adults over the age of 23. The lowest figure is £4.30 for an apprentice.

Despite some initial resistance from employers, it has now been pretty much fully embraced, but as HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) has pointed out, many are abusing it and have come up with some pretty incredible excuses for not paying what is a legal requirement.

HMRC has listed what they described as 10 outrageous excuses:

HMRC says it has issued more than £14 million in penalties to rogue employers in the 2020 to 2021 tax year.

More than £16 million in unpaid salaries was recovered which should have been paid to more than 155,000 workers across the UK.

Steve Timewell, Director Individuals and Small Business Compliance, at HMRC, said: “The majority of UK employers pay their workers at least the National Minimum Wage, but this list shows some of the excuses provided to our enforcement officers by less scrupulous businesses. Being underpaid is no joke for workers, so we always apply the law and take action. Workers cannot be asked or told to sign-away their rights.”

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