Dodgy bosses called out by business minister Margot James

Written by James Millar on 11 January 2017 in Diary

Taxman unveils list of outrageous excuses given by firms caught underpaying staff

Business minister Margot James has revealed a list of excuses given by dodgy bosses for not paying the minimum wage.

According to the research by tax collectors HMRC folk caught underpaying their staff have claimed they were doing it because the staff weren’t very good, didn’t do very much or had agreed to accept the illegal pay rates.

The list includes one unscrupulous boss claiming they only had to pay shop staff when they were actually serving someone and another who claimed his employee didn’t deserve the legal minimum because she only “made tea and swept floors”.

The law states that everyone over the age of 25 is entitled to a minimum of £7.20 per hour with a lower rate for younger workers.

The bizarre excuses have been made public as part of a £1.7 million campaign to raise awareness around the increase in the minimum wage coming into force in April that will take the rate up to £7.50 per hour.

The top 10 drawn up by Greg Clark’s department for business, energy and industrial strategy are:

1.       The employee wasn’t a good worker so I didn’t think they deserved to be paid the National Minimum Wage.

2.       It’s part of UK culture not to pay young workers for the first three months as they have to prove their ‘worth’ first.

3.       I thought it was ok to pay foreign workers below the National Minimum Wage as they aren’t British and therefore don’t have the right to be paid it.

4.       She doesn’t deserve the National Minimum Wage because she only makes the teas and sweeps the floors.

5.       I’ve got an agreement with my workers that I won’t pay them the National Minimum Wage; they understand and they even signed a contract to this effect.

6.       My accountant and I speak a different language – he doesn't understand me and that's why he doesn’t pay my workers the correct wages.

7.       My workers like to think of themselves as being self-employed and the National Minimum Wage doesn’t apply to people who work for themselves.

8.       My workers are often just on standby when there are no customers in the shop; I only pay them for when they’re actually serving someone.

9.       My employee is still learning so they aren't entitled to the National Minimum Wage.

10.   The National Minimum Wage doesn’t apply to my business.

BEIS minister Margot James said: “There are no excuses for underpaying staff what they are legally entitled to. This campaign will raise awareness among the lowest paid in society about what they must legally receive.

“We are determined to make sure everybody in work receives a fair wage.”

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