16 February 2017
UK employers named and shamed for paying below legal minimum wage
Ever get the feeling you're not paid enough? You could be right, as hundreds of employers have been exposed for paying below the legal requirement.Credit: Martin Pettitt – Flickr
A part-time job alongside your degree can be a lifesaver for budgeting, but what if it turns out you're getting paid less than you're legally due?
A new report from the ONS (Office for National Statistics) has revealed that hundreds of businesses are still paying staff less than the legal minimum wage requirement.
Debenhams, Argos, Subway and Lloyds Pharmacy were all named on the naughty list of 360 UK businesses that failed to cough up enough cash to their workers.
Some 15,000 employees were refunded almost £1 million in total after they didn't receive either the National Minimum Wage or the National Living Wage.
Why are staff being underpaid?
Whilst Debenham's have blamed their massive payroll glitch (which saw 11,000 members of staff being underpaid and repaid £134,000 as a result) on an accounting error, other businesses had slightly more…erm, creative excuses.
Some claimed they paid staff less because they received tips from customers as part of their job, whilst others claimed they made wage deductions to pay for staff uniforms, or to fund a Christmas party.
People working in typical student jobs such as hairdressing, hospitality and retail were the most likely to be affected – find out how much you should legally be getting paid.
Have I missed out?
While we'd like to think most employers will do the decent (and legal) thing, the ONS claim they traced 362,000 UK positions that weren't paying the national minimum in April 2016.
Even the Government is guilty of this – just after announcing the new National Living Wage in April of last year, they advertised a position that paid less than the legal requirement. Awkward!
Legally, if you're over 25, you must receive the National Living Wage of £7.20 an hour.
If you're under 25, you're entitled to the National Minimum Wage instead. At the moment it's £6.95 per hour for over 21s, and £5.55 for 18-21s. Find out if your employer is on the list of those not coughing up the legal requirement here.
No matter how many hours you work a week, you're entitled to these rates, so if you're not getting them, speak to your employer ASAP.
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