HMRC discuss rules on hourly pay and back pay
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In the 2020-21 tax year, HMRC assisted more than 155,000 employees across the UK to recover more than £16million in pay which was owed to them from negligent bosses. On top of this, the Government tax body issued more than £14million in penalties to employers for failing to pay up. While the majority of bosses do pay at least the Minimum Wage, HMRC is cautioning workers to check the hourly rate of pay they are actually getting, and to also check any deductions or unpaid working time, as they could be owed more money.
This is all part of the Government’s efforts to “build back fairer” after the disastrous effects the pandemic has had on the economy.
Currently, the Minimum Wage for those aged 23 or over stands at £8.91 per hour. This is also commonly known as the National Living Wage.
For Britons aged 21 or 22, the hourly wage is £8.36, while people aged between 18 to 20 get £6.56 an hour.
Anyone under the age of 18 gets £4.62 an hour, while apprentices get an hourly wage of £4.30 for their work.
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Among the list of absurd excuses employers say to not pay their workers the Minimum Wage were:
“She does not deserve the National Minimum Wage because she only makes the tea and sweeps the floors.
“The employee was not a good worker, so I did not think they deserved to be paid the National Minimum Wage.
“My accountant and I speak a different language – he does not understand me, and that is why he does not pay my workers the correct wages.
“My employee is still learning so they are not entitled to the National Minimum Wage.
“It is part of UK culture not to pay young workers for the first three months as they have to prove their ‘worth’ first.
“The National Minimum Wage does not apply to my business.”
Steve Timewell, Director of Individuals and Small Business Compliance at HMRC, outlined the importance of workers knowing their rights and what they should do if they feel they are being short-changed.
Mr Timewell said: “The majority of UK employers pay their workers at least the National Minimum Wage, but this list shows some of the excuses provided to our enforcement officers by less scrupulous businesses.
“Being underpaid is no joke for workers, so we always apply the law and take action. Workers cannot be asked or told to sign away their rights.
“We are making sure that workers are being paid what they are entitled to and, as the economy reopens, reminding employers of the rules and the help that is available to them.
“HMRC reviews every complaint made about the minimum wage, so if you think you are being short-changed, or are a business that is unsure of the rules or needs help to get things right, get in touch and we will help you.
“But any employer deliberately or unapologetically underpaying their staff will face hefty fines and other enforcement action.”
How to get more money if you’ve been short-changed
Workers who are concerned about being short-changed can complain via the Gov.co.uk website.
An online form needs to be filled out to complain about not being paid the National Minimum Wage or to address other employment concerns.
If anyone has trouble accessing this form, they can alternatively call the Acas helpline on 0300 123 1100 for guidance on issuing a complaint about any employer.
According to the Government website, this helpline “provides free and confidential advice” on employment rights in the UK.
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