By Pravin Jeyaraj
The industry sectors with some of the worst compliance with National Minimum Wage (NMW) legislation are also the ones with relatively high numbers of staff on zero hours contracts.
The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) have released data on 208 employers who failed to comply with the law and pay staff the National Minimum Wage (NMW).
According to the data, of the 208 employers, 45 were in the hospitality sector, 36 were in the retail sector and 14 were in the domicilary care and childcare sector.
According to recent data from the Office for National Statistics, there are almost 1 million workers on zero hours contracts and 24.9% are in the accommodation and food sector, 11.6% are in the wholesale and retail sector and 19.4% are in health and social care.
The various employers named and shamed by BEIS range from multinational companies to sole traders and they breached national minimum wage legislation in a number of ways. Whilst not all breaches were intentional, the main reasons for employers' non-compliance were the practice of making workers pay for the cost of uniforms or complying with a dress code (37%) and unpaid working time such as mandatory training, trial shifts or travel time (29%). For workers earning the NMW, these practices effectively takes their pay below that level.
It was also found that 16% of the 209 employers did not pay the correct minimum wage rate to apprentices and 11% failed to increase NMW pay whenever the rate rose or paid the wrong rate.
Whilst zero hours workers are also entitled to receive at least the NMW, the types of deductions or errors that are made to reduce the NMW rate can exarcebate the financial insecurity faced by those who cannot rely on guaranteed hours of work.
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