Workers are entitled to be paid the National Living Wage (NLW) or Minimum Wage (NMW) for their age. Employers who fail to do this run the risk of financial penalties and of being ‘named and shamed’. To help employers avoid mistakes, HMRC have produced a checklist of 18 common errors. These are listed below.
Common error 1
Making deductions or taking payments from workers for items or expenses connected with their job which reduce the worker’s pay below the statutory minimum.
Common error 2
Making wage deductions or taking payments from workers for the employer’s own use or benefit where the employer is free to use the money for their own benefit, and making the deduction or taking the benefit reduces the worker’s pay below the statutory minimum.
Common error 3
Failure to pay for additional time added on to a worker’s shift, for example, team handovers between shifts or time spent passing through security checks on entry and exit.
Common error 4
Failure to pay a worker for any time during their shift when they are at the workplace and are required to be available for work, even if no work is being provided at that time.
Common error 5
Failure to pay a worker for travelling time.
Common error 6
Failure to pay the worker for time spent training
Common error 7
Failure to pay the worker sufficient money for time worked during a sleep-in shift.
Common error 8
Incorrectly applying the minimum wage accommodation offset when living accommodation is provided to the worker by the employer.
Common error 9
Paying the NMW apprentice rate to a worker who is not a genuine apprentice.
Common error 10
Paying the NMW apprentice rate before a worker starts their apprenticeship or after it ends.
Common error 11
Continuing to pay the NMW apprentice rate to an apprentice who is aged 19 or over or when they have completed the first year of their apprenticeship.
Common error 12
Failing to pay an apprentice for the time that they have spent training or studying as part of their apprenticeship.
Common error 13
Failure to apply the annual increases to the NLW and NMW which take effect from 1 April each year.
Common error 14
Failing to increase the rate paid when a worker moves into the NLW or a higher NMW age bracket. Age-related increases apply when a worker turns 18, 21 or 23.
Common error 15
Including an element of pay that does not count towards the NMW (such as tips) when checking whether workers have been paid at least the NLW/NMW for their age.
Common error 16
Failing to pay the NLW/NMW to a person on work experience or to an intern when they are entitled to it.
Common error 17
Failing to take account of excess hours worked by salaried staff which reduce the worker’s pay below the statutory minimum.
Common error 18
Failure to distinguish between different types of worker (e.g., salaried, time, output or unmeasured) and to calculate the NLW/NMW accordingly.
Partner note: National Minimum Wage Act 1998; the National Minimum Wage Regulations 2015 (SI 2015/621).