The government has launched a nationwide campaign to increase low-paid workers’ understanding of their rights around pay.
The advertising campaign, which will feature on public transport, in shopping centres and other public places, is being rolled out ahead of the government’s national minimum and national living wage rates rise on 1 April.
The government has been stepping up its activity to name and shame companies that fail to pay workers the national living wage. Debenhams and Peacocks were among those named in a list of 360 companies for failing to pay some workers the national living wage earlier this month.
Debenhams said the issue related to a technical error in its payroll calculations, while Peacocks said it was a timing issue based on the preferences of our employees and that no-one is underpaid over the year.
It also follows an exposé by Channel 4’s Dispatches in January, which found that workers in UK factories are being paid less than half the minimum wage to create clothing for high profile retailers.
The government found that many people in low-paid work are confused about when they should be paid and what deductions from their pay packets can legally be made, in a survey of more than 1,400 workers earning less than £15,000.
More than half (57%) said they didn’t know that 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, while 69% didn’t know they should be paid for travel time between appointments.
“This campaign will raise awareness among the lowest paid people in society about what they must legally receive,” said business minister Margot James.
“Anyone who thinks they may be paid less than the legal minimum should contact Acas [the organisation devoted to preventing and resolving employment disputes] as soon as possible.”
Jennie Granger, director general for customer compliance at Revenue and Customs, added: “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.”
From 1 April 2017
The government’s national living wage rate for those aged 25 and over will increase by 30p to £7.50/hr.
For the government’s national minimum wage:
- the rate for 21 to 24 year-olds will increase by 10p to £7.05/hr
- the rate for 18 to 20 year-olds will increase by 5 to £5.60/hr
- the rate for 16 to 17 year-olds will increase by 5p to £4.05/hr
- the apprentice rate will increase by 10p to £3.50/hr