a Christmas pay boost following a crackdown on 'scrooge bosses' who
fail to pay workers the national minimum wage, employment relations
minister Gerry Sutcliffe announced today.
Almost £1.8m in wage arrears has been uncovered over the past
seven months by Inland Revenue minimum wage enforcement teams, and
3,607 cases were identified and investigated during this period.
This brings the total wage arrears recovered since the introduction
of the national minimum wage in April 1999 to more than £14m.
Mr Sutcliffe said:
'These figures send a clear message to unscrupulous bosses that we
will pursue those who are not paying the minimum wage. We are
committed to providing workers with decent minimum standards and
ensuring fairness in the workplace.
'Most employers in the UK are complying with the minimum wage because
they know that decent wages mean a well-motivated workforce which in
turn encourages enhanced business competitiveness and performance,
but a small percentage still refuse to comply.
'I'm delighted that this pay boost has been identified in time for
Christmas and hope that the employers work hard to ensure payment of
the arrears as soon as possible.'
1. Recent cases where workers have received arrears include;
Two female hairdressers in Cambridge received more than £1,200 in
wage arrears. Both were young workers on apprenticeship schemes -
when they reached the age of 18 the employer should have started
paying the minimum wage but failed to do so.
A father in London was employing his daughter to work on his fruit
and veg stall. He wasn't aware that the rates increased each year and
was paying her as per 1999 rates. She received arrears amounting to
A young male worker in East Kilbride was employed at an
electrical/hardware store. He continued to be paid at the youth rate
following his 22nd birthday which resulted in an underpayment of
In Exeter a young female worker was employed in a Day Nursery to look
after children under the age of five. It was found that she was not
receiving the minimum wage and following investigate she was paid
arrears amounting to £1,404 by her employer.
2. DTI region/arrears of pay identified/number of workers benefiting
NMW CASES PER DTI REGION 01/04/03 - 30/11/03
Region Arrears Cases Helpline Workers
South West 220,982 281 81 581
South East 279,236 346 89 326
East 62,597 180 116 208
East Midlands 87,527 194 101 301
West Midlands 107,583 265 114 1,007
North West 71,623 395 143 483
Yorks/Humberside 78,357 332 123 339
North East 70,384 223 95 168
London 301,445 512 136 798
Wales 113,559 294 63 240
Northern Ireland 163,089 208 71 408
Scotland 209,115 294 165 865
Merseyside 34,091 83 31 53
TOTALS 1,799,588 3,607 1,328 5,777
3. The minimum wage is enforced by the Inland Revenue. Anyone who
thinks they are not being paid the minimum wage should call the
helpline on 0845 6000 678 or use the interactive website -
www.tiger.gov.uk - which provides guidance for both employees and
4. The hourly NMW rate for adults aged 22 or over is now £4.50 and
is £3.80 for 18-21 year olds.