HMRC discloses shocking employer explanations for not paying legal minimum wage

‘She only makes the tea’ and ‘my employees are on standby’ are just a few excuses used by businesses who have paid workers under the National Minimum Wage, the UK tax office has revealed.

Every employed worker in Great Britain is legally entitled to the National Minimum Wage. However, many employers tried cheating the pay system during the last financial year, according to a new Government report.

HMRC has released the excuses that employers have used for failing to pay their employees correctly. This includes ‘my workers like to think as themselves as being self-employed’ and ‘young workers have to prove their worth in the first three months’.

Other excuses for not paying employees the legal minimum wage include: ‘She only sweeps the floors’, and ‘they weren’t a good worker’.

During the last tax year, HMRC assisted around 155,000 ‘short-changed’ employees in the UK to retrieve more than £16 million which was owed to them. They also distributed more than £14 million in fines.

The Director of Individuals and Small Business Compliance, HMRC, Steve 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.” He added: “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 is encouraging employees to regularly monitor their pay, cash deductions and any unpaid working time.

To find out more about the National Minimum Wage, click here.