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Most bizarre excuses for not paying employees National Minimum Wage revealed

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Ten of the most bizarre excuses used by employers found not to be paying workers the National Minimum Wage have been revealed.

Excuses for not paying staff the minimum wage include only wanting to pay staff when there are customers to serve and believing it was acceptable to underpay workers until they had ‘proved’ themselves.

The list has been published today to coincide with a new awareness campaign to encourage workers to check their pay to ensure they are receiving at least the statutory minimum ahead of the national minimum and national living wages rising on 1 April 2017.

Read below the some of the worst excuses given by employers for underpaying staff:

“The employee wasn’t a good worker so I didn’t think they deserved to be paid the National Minimum Wage.”


“It’s part of UK culture not to pay young workers for the first three months as they have to prove their ‘worth’ first.”


“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.”


“She doesn’t deserve the National Minimum Wage because she only makes the teas and sweeps the floors.”


“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.”


“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.”


“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.”


“My employee is still learning so they aren’t entitled to the National Minimum Wage.”


“The National Minimum Wage doesn’t apply to my business.”


By law, all workers must be paid at least £7.20 an hour if they are aged 25 years and over, or the National Minimum Wage rate relevant to their age if they are younger.

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.”

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