09/10/2011 - Minimum Wage: More Workers Shafted

ACCORDING to research conducted by Kings College London, between 150,000 and 200,000 workers are being paid less than the UK legal National Minimum Wage NMW).

These figures relate to those working in the social care sector – and contradict those of the Office for National Statistics who maintain the figure is ‘only’ 27,000.

It has also been revealed that British workers are being further shafted as a result of cozy arrangements between universities and businesses. 

Here, students have to pay several thousand pounds to do work placements with various companies.  However, this type of work is exempt from laws relating to the minimum wage.  Indeed, a loophole exists whereby the students don’t even have to be paid for the work they do!

Another way of avoiding paying the NMW is for bosses to recategorise workers as ‘self-employed’ (as those who are self-employed do not have to be paid a minimum wage).

According to the National Hairdressers Federation, this is reasonably common practice in the trade.  According to a report in The Guardian (of 3 October) in the past year alone 10,000 hairdressers have been recategorised by their employers as “self employed”.  This move also frees the employer from paying holiday and sick pay and PAYE tax.

The government has just raised the National Minimum Wage from £5.93 to £6.08 an hour.