Minimum Wage breaches
191 firms have been ‘named and shamed’ by the government’s Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) department for breaches of minimum wage. Most of the headline grabbing breaches (John Lewis, Body Shop, Pret A Manger) were unwitting technical breaches, and many of these concerned the provision of uniform – employers made deductions for these, and those deductions had the effect of lowering wages below the NMW for that particular pay period. Other popular errors included a failure to pay for time worked, and errors in apprenticeship pay.
It’s worth making the point that many of these errors came to light through HMRC inspections rather than employee complaints. Many employees are as unaware of the intricacies of minimum wage regulations as their employers.
Minimum wage summary
For the benefit of summary, we’ll remind ourselves of the basics:
- An employee must receive the NMW for each hour worked in any particular pay period – e.g. if the employee is paid weekly, the pay period is one week.
- Deductions which have the effect if lowering pay below the NMW are permitted for a limited range of things – including a capped amount for the provision of accommodation and, in most cases, the repayment of an employer loan/advance on wages.
- Utilities, uniforms, travel, tools and equipment etc. CANNOT be deducted, if the effect of the deduction is to lower the NMW in any particular pay period EVEN if the employee agrees to the deduction.
- Tips cannot be used to make up NMW.
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