Employers are reminded that revised National Minimum Wage (NMW) rates come into force on 1 October 2010 as follows:
The adult hourly rate will increase from £5.80 to £5.93;
The development rate (which will cover workers aged 18-20 years) will increase from £4.83 to £4.92; and
The rate for workers aged 16 and 17 will increase from £3.57 to £3.64.
In addition, an apprentice minimum wage of £2.50 per hour is being introduced. The new rate will apply to those apprentices who are under 19 and those who are aged 19 and over but in the first year of their apprenticeship.
The hourly NMW rate is non-negotiable, as a recent case involving hotel cleaners illustrates. The agency cleaners were allowed just 20 minutes to clean each room. They had signed agreements stating that they would be paid the NMW hourly rate and, on average, worked more than 40 hours per week, but this was not reflected in their wages. Their payslips showed that the agency was in fact paying them according to the number of rooms cleaned each day.
Following an investigation, 13 room attendants have now been awarded back pay and damages after taking their case to the Employment Tribunal, claiming that they had been paid less than the NMW and that insufficient records were kept.
Productivity targets cannot be used to justify paying less than the legal rate and the rates apply equally to migrant workers. Employers have a duty to keep adequate records to show that they are paying workers at least the NMW.
Contact us if you would like advice to ensure your pay arrangements do not breach the NMW legislation.