BBC NEWS
BBCi CATEGORIES   TV   RADIO   COMMUNICATE   WHERE I LIVE   INDEX    SEARCH 

BBC News UK Edition
 You are in: Special Report: 1999: 04/99: Minimum wage  
News Front Page
World
UK
England
N Ireland
Scotland
Wales
UK Politics
Business
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
Education
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
CBBC News
SERVICES
-------------
EDITIONS
Minimum wage Tuesday, 30 March, 1999, 17:36 GMT 18:36 UK
Policing the employers
Some companies may not relish the prospect of paying workers the minimum wage. But swingeing fines and prosecution await any who try to slip through the net.

Minimum wage
The Low Pay Commission - which was set up by the government to report on the minimum wage - says 1.9m people will receive a wage boost after 1 April.

But policing up to 200,000 employers, mainly in the hospitality and retail sectors, will not be easy.

The Inland Revenue Contributions Agency will enforce the new system. It can prosecute any companies who shirk their new responsibilities.

The regulations are strict, with fines building up to 5,000 per offence. Spot checks will be made by inspectors, who can demand to see employers' pay records.

Business fury

But the new rules were greeted with outcry from business organisations, who said the 112-page document was published far too late.

It was released by the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) only 18 days before the minimum wage became law.

Waiter
The hospitality sector will be shaken up by the minumum wage
A three-month delay was demanded, as businesses wanted time to absorb and implement the new information. Ian Peters of the British Chambers of Commerce said the time given was "totally unacceptable".

But a senior DTI official said there was "nothing in the report to surprise anyone", and the date remained unchanged.

The main rules are:

  • Employers will be fined 7.20 per worker for every day they fail to comply with the minimum wage. This can peak at 5,000;

  • Workers can report breaches of the minimum wage anonymously;

  • Employers must not intentionally obstruct an inspector, and must produce accurate wage records on demand;

  • The records must be held on a computer for three years;

  • If workers have reasonable grounds to believe they are underpaid, they must have access to their pay records within 14 days;

  • Workers can take employers to a tribunal if the above request is refused. If the complaint is upheld, the worker receives 288;

  • Workers have a case for unfair dismissal if they can prove they were sacked for protesting about not receiving the correct wage;

Reduced rules cut costs

But these rules are actually a shorter version of the original proposals. This move was hailed by the business community as "a victory for common sense".

Money
Pay statements will not give minimum wage details
The government estimated that the cut in regulation lowered the total costs for the minimum wage by 200m to 2.2bn.

In February, the government decided employers did not have to state minimum wage pay separately on pay statements, as first proposed.

Piece-rate workers are the exception, however, and employers must inform them of their hourly rate.

Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Minimum wage stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Minimum wage stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | World | UK | England | N Ireland | Scotland | Wales |
UK Politics | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology |
Health | Education | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes