£200 fines for firms that flaunt minimum wage laws

DTI clamps down further on companies not paying legal minimum

Companies that do not pay staff the minimum wage could now face a £200 fine for each underpaid worker, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) announced today.

Trade and Industry Secretary Alistair Darling announced that employers that refuse to pay back arrears to workers owed minimum wage payments will now be penalised. The current minimum wage for staff older than 22 is £5.35 an hour.

“Workers have the right to a decent minimum wage and we are determined they get it,” said Darling.

“To those employers avoiding the minimum wage the message is don’t pay it and you’ll pay the fine.”

Darling said the vast majority of good employers needed to to know they were operating on a ‘level playing field’ and the new measures would help deliver that.

However, the Forum of Private Business (FPB) believes that awareness of employment law is a key issue and efforts should be made to make sure companies are aware of any changes to regulations.

“A lot of businesses struggle to come to terms with the extent of regulations surrounding employment law,” said a spokesperson for the FPB.

“Sometimes companies are not aware of changes to minimum wage, and in those cases fines could cause problems. However, if companies are aware of the regulations and they still choose to disregard them then they should be fined.”

© Crimson Business Ltd. 2007

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