Despite repeated publicity promotions and warnings to employers – including of course those of domestic and household staff – of not paying the legal minimum wage, a record £15.6 million worth of underpayment has been uncovered by the government in just the last year.
As a result 200,000 workers missed out on being paid at least the minimum wage rate – the highest number since the statutory rate was first introduced in 1999. To make the point even more relevant, those working in social care were among the biggest three categories where offending has taken place.
On a micro scale, this raises issues both for those who employ social care staff to look after relatives and raises the issue of staff in residential homes, for instance.
Families anticipate that when a decision is made to accommodate a relative in a residential care home that they will be given the best possible care. But when staff are dissatisfied due to being underpaid, it has to be asked if every possible effort is made.
Those found to be underpaying were and will be hit by increasingly heavy fines as well as having to reimburse staff.
Funding for enforcement was at record levels – rising to £26.3m in 2018/19 from £20m in 2016/17 as efforts are made to catch offenders.
For reference, the National Minimum Wage levels are set out below.
Minimum wage rates
The National Living Wage (over 25s): £7.83 an hour
21-24 year old rate: £7.38
Apprentice rate: £3.70
The Graham Agency, keeping you in touch.