Pay workers correct wage or face £20,000 fine, says government

Employers could be fined up to £20,000 per employee if they do not pay them the new National Minimum Wage (NMW) rate from tomorrow (1 October).

The warning comes from the Department for Business Innovation and Skills, after a survey found that 53% of those employers didn’t know it was an offence not to pay workers the NMW or to falsify pay records.

The census survey of 1,000 employers, found that a staggering 74% of employers didn’t know what the new NMW rates were and 80% did not realise the sums they could be fined for failing to pay someone the NMW.

Employers can also be named and shamed for not paying the correct rates and they must repay workers they have underpaid.

Around 10,000 agricultural workers are expected to benefit from the pay rise, accounting for 1% of jobs across all sectors.

It is illegal not to pay workers at least the NMW. 

The NMW hourly rates from 1 October 2015

  21 and over 18 to 20 Under 18 Apprentice
New rate from 1 October 2015 £6.70 £5.30 £3.87 £3.30
Old rate (2014) £6.50 £5.13 £3.79 £2.73

Who is eligible?

  • Full-time employees
  • Part-time employees
  • Agency workers
  • Trainees or those on probation
  • Apprentices

More wage increases ahead

The National Living Wage will replace the NMW from 1 April 2016 for those aged 25 and over. It will be £7.20/hour will be compulsory.

See more: Pay and pension changes 

Help for employers

Those who are concerned about their current pay arrangement or want to check wage queries can contact the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) on 0300 123 1100 for free advice as well as support in correcting any issues. More guidance is available at: https://www.gov.uk/national-minimum-wage.

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