The government named and shamed nearly 180 employers for underpaying more than 9,000 minimum wage workers by £1.1 million today, ahead of the next rate rise on 1 April.
The National Living Wage (minimum wage for over 25’s) will go up from £7.50 to £7.83 per hour.
Apprentices under the age of 19 and those in the first year of their apprenticeship will benefit from a record 5.7% rise, from £3.50 to £3.70 per hour.
Elsewhere 21 to 24 year olds will see a rise from the current £7.05 to £7.38, whilst 18 to 20 year olds will receive 30p more per hour, bringing their pay rate up from £5.60 to £5.90. Under 18s have a 15p increase from £4.05 to £4.20 per hour.
As well as recovering back pay for over 9,000 workers, the government also fined employers a total of £1.3 million in penalties. Employers who pay workers less than the minimum wage will also be required to pay back arrears of wages to the worker at current minimum wage rates.
Later this month the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) will launch a campaign to raise awareness of the new rates and encourage workers to speak to their employer if they think they are being underpaid.
Business Minister Andrew Griffiths said:
The world of work is changing and we have set out our plans to give millions of workers enhanced rights to ensure everyone is paid and treated fairly in the workplace.
There are no excuses for short-changing workers. This is an absolute red line for this government and employers who cross it will get caught – not only are they forced to pay back every penny but they are also fined up to 200% of wages owed.
Today’s naming round serves as a sharp reminder to employers to get their house in order ahead of minimum wage rate rises on 1 April.
Bryan Sanderson, Chairman of the Low Pay Commission (LPC), said:
As the National Living Wage and National Minimum Wage rates rise on 1 April, it is vital that workers understand their rights, and employers their obligations.
The Low Pay Commission is pleased to see the government maintaining the momentum of its minimum wage enforcement.
The recent announcement that all workers will have a right to payslips stating the hours they have worked – an idea originally proposed by the LPC – is a positive step.
New legislation is to be introduced as part of the government’s Good Work Plan that will give workers the right to a payslip. For those paid by the hour, payslips will have to include the number of hours the worker is paid for, making pay easier to understand and challenge if it is wrong.