11/01/2017 11:19 GMT

HMRC Reveals 10 Excuses Employers Give For Not Paying The Minimum Wage

'She only makes the tea and sweeps the floors.'

The most bizarre excuses given by employers for not paying their staff the minimum wage have been revealed.

One person said his employee did not “deserve” the minimum wage “because she only makes the tea and sweeps the floors”.

Another said someone “wasn’t a good worker” and someone else said he thought it was alright to pay foreign staff below the statutory rate.

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One person said his employee should not get minimum wage 'because she only makes the tea and sweeps the floors' (file image)

The excuses have been revealed by the government as it launches a £1.7 million awareness campaign to ensure workers know how much they are legally entitled to.

Business Minister Margot James said: “There are no excuses for underpaying staff what they are legally entitled to.

“This campaign will raise awareness among the lowest paid in society about what they must legally receive and I would encourage anyone who thinks they may be paid less to contact Acas as soon as possible.

“Every call is followed up by HMRC and we are determined to make sure everybody in work receives a fair wage.”

Richard Gray/EMPICS Entertainment
Business Minister Margot James said there was no excuse for underpaying staff

The government revealed the ten worst excuses given to them by employers caught out for underpaying staff:

  1. The employee wasn’t a good worker so I didn’t think they deserved to be paid the National Minimum Wage.
  2. It’s part of UK culture not to pay young workers for the first 3 months as they have to prove their ‘worth’ first.
  3. I thought it was ok to pay foreign workers below the National Minimum Wage as they aren’t British and therefore don’t have the right to be paid it.
  4. She doesn’t deserve the National Minimum Wage because she only makes the teas and sweeps the floors.
  5. I’ve got an agreement with my workers that I won’t pay them the National Minimum Wage; they understand and they even signed a contract to this effect.
  6. My accountant and I speak a different language – he doesn’t understand me and that’s why he doesn’t pay my workers the correct wages.
  7. My workers like to think of themselves as being self-employed and the National Minimum Wage doesn’t apply to people who work for themselves.
  8. My workers are often just on standby when there are no customers in the shop; I only pay them for when they’re actually serving someone.
  9. My employee is still learning so they aren’t entitled to the National Minimum Wage.
  10. The National Minimum Wage doesn’t apply to my business.

Len McCluskey, general secretary of the Unite union, said: “Too often companies are skimming their profits out of the pockets of their workforce. It is a continuing reminder that, for too many working people, work in this country just does not pay.

“While it is good to see the rogues being held to account in some way, the fines can only ever be a rap on the knuckles.”

Stewart Gee, of the conciliation service Acas, said: “We welcome this new government awareness campaign as there are no good excuses for not paying staff what they are legally entitled to.

“Employers are breaking the law if they don’t pay the national minimum wage and businesses face a maximum fine of £20,000 per worker for not paying the national living wage. Failure to pay the national living wage could also result in a company director being banned for up to 15 years.”