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Minimum wage

January 17th, 2010

What is the minimum wage?

Workers are entitled to be paid a minimum hourly rate of pay dependant on their age.

The rate is revised from 1st October each year.

Current rates (01.10.10 – 30.09.11) are:-

· Age 21 +         £5.93 per hour (£6.08 from 01.10.11)
· Age 18 – 20    £4.92 per hour (£4.98 from 01.10.11)
· Age  16 – 17     £3.64 per hour (£3.68 from 01.10.11)

The minimum wage does not apply to the following:

· Those who are truly self employed
· Workers under 16
· Apprentices age under 19 or in the first year of their apprenticeship


Specific Circumstances

Workers who are “on call” are in most cases likely to be entitled to the minimum wage during this time.

Workers on piece rates are entitled to be paid the minimum wage for every hour they work unless the employer has calculated a fair piece rate and provided specific details of that fair piece rate to the employee in writing.

Employees who also receive tips are still entitled to the national minimum wage in addition to any income from tips.

Employees who are provided with accommodation can have the notional value of the accommodation included when calculating the minimum wage. The maximum figures from 1st October 2010 are £4.61 per day/£32.27 per week.


How the National Minimum Wage can be enforced

Employers are obliged to keep records of hours and pay for each employee. Employees are entitled to inspect and take copies of their records although the employer may require up to 14 days written notice to produce these records.

A worker can report the employer to HM Customs & Revenue who can then take enforcement action.

A worker can bring a claim to an Employment Tribunal not only for payment of any shortfall in the minimum wage but also for any other financial losses caused by the failure to pay the minimum wage (e.g. bank charges). However any claim must be brought within 3 months of the latest shortfall in pay.

If the most recent failure of an employer to pay the minimum wage is over 3 months ago, a worker can still bring a claim in the County Court.


Protection of workers who seek to enforce the minimum wage

A worker has the right not to be subjected to a detriment in their work if they take action or propose to take action to enforce the minimum wage or if they are subjected to a detriment in order to avoid having to pay them the minimum wage.

An employee who is dismissed for taking action or proposing to take action to enforce the minimum wage or to avoid having to pay them the minimum wage, is regarded as unfairly dismissed.

There is no minimum qualifying period of employment required for an employee to bring a claim in the Employment Tribunal, in respect of either of these potential claims, but the claim must be received by the Tribunal within 3 months of the dismissal or detriment.


Further information

Information on benefits in kind


Please note that the information on this page is intended to be a guideline and is therefore a summary of the law only and not a complete guide. Before taking any action based on this information you are strongly advised to take legal advice. Whilst every effort has been made to ensure that the information contained on this page is up to date and accurate, no guarantee can be given to this effect.

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