27 February 2017 | Herpreet Kaur Grewal
The government has launched a campaign to increase low-paid workers' knowledge of national minimum and national living wage rights.
The advertising campaign goes live across the country this week to raise lowest paid workers' knowledge of their rights ahead of the National Minimum and National Living Wage rates rise on 1 April.
The national advertising campaign will be carried on public transport, in shopping centres and other public places.
Separately, a new poll shows lack of understanding when it comes to being paid, including for travel time and security searches at the start or end of shifts
The poll of more than 1,400 workers earning less than £15,000 found:
- 69 per cent didn't know they should be paid for travel time between appointments;
- 57 per cent didn't know having money deducted from their wages to cover the costs of their uniform is unlawful if it takes their earnings under the National Minimum or National Living Wage; and
- 48 per cent didn't know that tips couldn't be used to top up pay to the legal minimum.
Some of the most common excuses given to HMRC by employers for underpaying workers include using tips to top up pay to the minimum wage, making staff pay for their uniforms out of their salary which takes them below the legal minimum, not paying for shutting up shop or for time waiting for security checks, or the time spent travelling from one appointment to another.
In light of this, the campaign highlights some of the most common examples when a worker may be underpaid the legal minimum in a bid to encourage workers to check their pay.
Business minister Margot James said: "We are determined to make sure everybody in work receives a fair wage and while most employers get it right, there are still a small number who fail to play by the rules. This campaign will raise awareness among the lowest paid people in society about what they must legally receive.
"Anyone who thinks they may be paid less than the legal minimum should contact Acas as soon as possible."
Jennie Granger, director-general for customer compliance at HMRC, said:
"Paying the national minimum wage is the law - it's not a choice. Employers must pay their workers what they're entitled to and follow the rules.
"We will act to ensure ripped-off workers receive their proper pay and hardworking businesses are not losing out to dodgy dealers who cheat their staff."