HR view: Top 10 excuses for not paying National Minimum Wage

February 22, 2017

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy recently named and shamed 350 employers for failing to pay the national minimum wage. HR180’s HR Manager, Laura Rigby, had a jaw dropping moment when she read the top 10 excuses errant employers made for NOT paying the legally enforceable National Minimum Wage hourly rate.

By Laura Rigby

HR180 National Minimum Wage

Although it should be obvious that the national minimum wage is non-negotiable, nearly 700 UK businesses were fined £1.4million last year, which is simply unacceptable – and the excuses given make it even worse.

I was going to emphasize just a few of the reasons given, but I couldn’t decide which were the most shocking, hence me sharing the full list below:

  • The employee wasn’t a good worker so I didn’t think they deserved to be paid the National Minimum Wage.
  • It’s part of UK culture not to pay young workers for the first 3 months as they have to prove their ‘worth’ first.
  • 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.
  • She doesn’t deserve the National Minimum Wage because she only makes the teas and sweeps the floors.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • My employee is still learning so they aren’t entitled to the National Minimum Wage.
  • The National Minimum Wage doesn’t apply to my business.

It’s not often I’m shocked doing what I do for a living but these excuses really do belong in the last century (if not the century before!)

Make sure you keep up to date with minimum wage requirements – and my colleague Alisa’s blog on increased rates is a great place to start.

If this is an HR issue too far and you’re worried about your people issues going off the rails, it’s time to call HR180’s team of superstars to fly in and get you on the right track…

Leeds based HR180 is a team of superheroes in HR Outsourcing, Projects and Consultancy committed to work in partnership with organisations of all sizes to establish working policies to go above and beyond Employment Law requirements, to protect both employees and employers alike. We love to hear from you, so call us on 0113 287 8150 or hit the Rescue Me button.

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