Government launch campaign to raise lowest paid workers’ knowledge of their rights

wage slip with pound coins, national minimum wage

The government has launched a new campaign to raise lowest paid workers’ knowledge of their rights ahead of the National Minimum and National Living Wage rates rise in April.

The national advertising campaign will be carried on public transport, in shopping centre and other public places. The aim of the campaign is to increase low paid workers’ understanding of their rights around pay.

The new campaign comes as a recent government poll suggested that people in low paid work are confused about when they should be paid and what deductions from their pay packets can be legally made.

The poll of more than 1,400 workers earning less than £15,000 found that 69 per cent didn’t know they should be paid for travel time between appointments. Of those asked, 57 per cent didn’t know having money deducted from their wages to cover the costs of their uniform is unlawful if it takes their earnings under the National Minimum and National Living Wage.

Nearly half of those questioned didn’t know that tips can’t be used to top up pay to the legal minimum. Common excuses given to HMRC by employers for underpaying their workers included not paying for shutting up shop, time waiting for security checks or the time spent travelling from one appointment to another.

From 1 April 2017, the National Living Wage rate for those aged 25 and over will increase by 30p too £7.50 per hour. The National Minimum Wage for 21 to 24 year olds will increase to £7.05 per hour; to £5.60 for 18 to 20 year olds; to £4.05 for 16 to 17 year olds; and the apprentice rate will increase to £3.50 per hour.

Speaking about the campaign, Business Minister, Margot James said, “We are determined to make sure everybody in work receives a fair wage and while most employers get it right, there are still a small number who fail to play by the rules.”

“This campaign will raise awareness amongst the lowest paid people in society about what they must legally receive.”

Jennie Granger, Director General for Customer Compliance at HMRC, said, “Paying the National Minimum Wage is the law – it’s not a choice.”

“Employers must pay their workers what they’re entitled to and follow the rules.”

“We will act to ensure ripped-off workers receive their proper pay and hardworking businesses are not losing out to dodgy dealers who cheat their staff.”

From 1 April 2017, the National Living Wage rate for those aged 25 and over will increase by 30p too £7.50 per hour. The National Minimum Wage for 21 to 24 year olds will increase to £7.05 per hour; to £5.60 for 18 to 20 year olds; to £4.05 for 16 to 17 year olds; and the apprentice rate will increase to £3.50 per hour.

The government is urging anyone who thinks that they may be being paid less than the minimum wage to contact Acas as soon as possible.

Alison Simpson
About the author

Alison is the Digital Content Editor for WeAreTheCity. She has a BA Honours degree in Journalism and History from the University of Portsmouth. She has previously worked in the marketing sector and in a copywriting role. Alison’s other passions and hobbies include writing, blogging and travelling.

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