Firms not paying minimum wage to 'space-wasters'

22-08-2006

At least one business in the UK has claimed that its workers do not deserve to be paid the minimum wage as they are a "total waste of space", according to the government.

HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) is unveiling some of the more outlandish reasons used by employers to justify their decision in not paying workers minimum wage, with other excuses including that employees are satisfied with receiving £3 an hour and that employees over 65-years-old do not qualify.

Although HMRC insists that "by far the majority" of employers do not hesitate to pay their workers the minimum wage, it admits there are instances when some businesses slip the net of its enforcement teams.

Other genuine excuses included on the list that employees have given are that their workers did not speak English and are therefore exempt, while the same is said for disabled employees.

Dawn Primarolo, paymaster general at the department, said that "this list shows that there are still some rogue employers out there willing to flout the law, which is why our enforcement teams are hard at work across the UK to ensure that everyone is getting paid at least the national minimum wage".

HMRC has 16 national teams working across the country with the specific aim of claiming unpaid wages for low-paid workers, with the department saying that £3.3 million was returned to employees in 2005.

"We are publishing this list of excuses today to remind employers and employees of their rights and responsibilities in relation to the national minimum wage," added Ms Primarolo.


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