Keeping On Top Of The National Minimum Wage

Employers are facing unwelcome scrutiny from the government, as the next naming and shaming of those who have failed to meet the National Minimum/Living Wage obligations comes to light ...

As an employer, you'll most likely be aware that non-compliance with National Minimum Wage (NMW) or the National Living Wage (NLW) can result in an expensive penalty and some unwanted public shaming. The key areas that employers must pay attention to are deductions, unpaid working time, and failure to pay the right apprentice rate.

"Deductions can be a real problem area!"

Undoubtedly, your organisation should not be deducting costs for things like food, training courses, uniforms, and childcare from an employee's wages. You can, however, make deductions up to the NMW/NLW for accommodation, goods or services, provided the cost is not connected with the employment or required by the contract.

It's important to remember that if your employees are required to be present and do something for the organisation, then they should be paid for the working time. This can include arriving at the workplace before their shift, taking care of admin duties post-shift, or even waiting in the workplace before the shift commences.

Employers should also always bear in mind the cost of overtime and the effect that delayed payments can have on pay rates!

Ensuring the correct apprentice rate is paid is another area which can lead to NMW/NLW breaches. The apprentice rate of £5.28 applies to all apprentices in their first year, and those under 19 after that.

After this, they should be paid the NMW rate for their age. It's important to keep an eye on any apprentices' birthdays, qualification completion and any changes in the apprenticeship scheme.

I think now is a perfect time for employers to review their pay practices.

If you feel inspired to find out more about anything I've said here, do call me on 01908 774320 or leave a comment below and I'll be in touch as soon as I can.