The national minimum wage is the lowest an employer can legally pay an employee. The rates varies based on age or type of employment and are currently (2021/2022) the following:
- £8.91 - Aged 23 or over (NLW)
- £8.36 - Aged 21 to 22
- £6.56 - Aged 18 to 20
- £4.62 - Under 18 years old
- £4.30 - Apprentices
The NLW (National Living Wage) is for people aged 23 and over, it was previously for people aged 25 and over.
Last tax year, HMRC recovered over £16 million for 155,000 employees who had been illegally paid below minimum wage levels. An average of £103 per employee. £14 million was also collected in penalties on employers.
HMRC today published a list of the top 10 most outrageous excuses for not paying people at least the minimum wage.
- She did not deserve the minimum wage as she only makes tea and sweeps floors.
- Employee was not good enough to deserve the minimum wage.
- The accountant speaks a different language to the employer resulting in a communication error.
- UK 'culture' is to not pay workers for three months as they prove their worth.
- One employer stated the minimum wage does not apply to their business.
- Employer states employees have signed a contract agreeing to be paid below minimum wage.
- British employees do not have to be paid minimum wage.
- Employer said his 'employees' think of themselves as 'self-employed' thus minimum wage does not apply.
- Employees are just on standby when no customers are in the shop so only get paid when serving a customer.
If you are being paid below minimum wage or know somebody who is, pleaes call the ACAS Pay and Work Rights Helpline on 0300 123 1100.