Since 1999, all employers have been required to pay their employees at least the minimum wage. The wage is set to ensure that it does not damage the economy or cause unemployment. But too many employers fail to comply with the law and do not pay their workers what they are due.
As a result at least 300,000 workers in the UK are being paid below the national minimum wage. This authoritative report surveys the extent and nature of this non-compliance and sets out a series of steps that we could take to tackle it. While the problem of non-compliance is by no means limited to London, it is a particularly significant problem for the capital. Among other reforms, Andy Hull contends that the public sector should do more to ensure the companies it employs, such as care providers, do pay the minimum wage and recommends that local authorities should play a greater role in enforcing it.
This report has been generously supported by Trust for London.
We discussed this report, as well as our proposals for a higher London minimum wage, with a panel of experts at a public event on 3rd December 2013. Further information on the event is available here.
Support for Settle for Nothing Less: Enhancing National Minimum Wage Compliance and Enforcement
Ensuring that all low-paid workers receive the minimum wage is the very least all working people should expect. There must be no hiding place for employers who try to cheat workers out of a legal wage and bosses who avoid paying the minimum wage should face prosecution, naming and shaming, as well as tough financial penalties. Whilst hard-pressed HM Revenue and Customs staff regularly recover more than £3 million a year for workers on illegal poverty pay, it is clear that far too many unscrupulous bosses are still getting away with ignoring the minimum wage. This means that around 300,000 workers across the UK are not being paid what they should be. Rogue employers are much more likely to stop paying poverty wages if they fear they will be caught and that’s why the Centre for London and Trust for London are right to push for minimum wage justice for every worker in the UK.
Newham and the GMB have campaigned for localised enforcement of the National Minimum Wage for some time, and Andy’s excellent report shows just how important that is. The minimum wage is useless unless we enforce it properly, and local authorities are the people to do it. It’s great this issue is gaining momentum and I look forward to working together to make local enforcement a reality.
Sir Robin Wales, Mayor of Newham