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24/08/2014 - Councils need to act on minimum wage cheats

minimumwage2The campaign to name and shame organisations and companies that flout National Minimum Wage laws needs to be stepped-up according to the Unions Solidarity and Unison.

The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) recently started naming companies who aren't paying the legal minimum but, so far, councils who commission social care employers implicated are not being named.

Social care workers can be subjected to unlawful deductions for uniforms, non-payment for travel time, training, accommodation and underpayment for sleep-ins. These can all contribute to workers in the sector not being paid the National Minimum wage.

UNISON Head of Local Government Heather Wakefield said:

"The lack of action to address the problem of 200,000 care workers being paid below the National Minimum Wage is staggering and we are urging the government to do more."

“Whilst the onus must remain on the care employers to comply, councils must take far more responsibility to ensure that they commission in a responsible manner. An official government policy of naming and shaming would be a very effective way of reminding councils of their responsibility for the way in which public funds are used, and the impact of illegal underpayment on the quality of care.”

David Kerr of the Solidarity Union commented

"Many councils simply don't know whether the homecare providers they commission pay their staff the National Minimum Wage. Nor do they know if their providers pay staff properly for their travel time, despite non-payment for travel time being a major cause of illegally low rates of pay. Councils need to step-up to their responsibilities."