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National Minimum Wage workshop highlights employer pitfalls

CFW members recently attended a workshop on the National Minimum Wage run by HMRC.

CFW policy advisor Melanie Minty said: “The workshop was very well attended and everyone felt they had learned how to avoid some pitfalls that employers typically make.

“There are many common mistakes that lead providers to unknowingly pay below the NMW. Some mistakes are fairly straightforward, like forgetting to implement the annual increase or not taking account of birthdays in adjusting pay.”

She added: “Some of the more complex are the ones that seemed to surprise most people: deductions from pay (eg for meals, uniform and accommodation) can take someone's wage below NMW, not including additional hours worked in calculating pay (unpaid working time such as shutting up the office). Plus, there is a specific limit to what the employer can offset from pay against accommodation provided.

“The consequences of getting it wrong are quite high – payment of arrears up to six years, the fine is equivalent to 200% of the arrears up to £20,000 per worker and the employer may be named and shamed.”

The manual is a really good resource for checking things out – it includes sections on DBS and registration fees too. Find it on the UK government website.