Small Firms Minimum Wage Rise
Almost a third of small firms are unaware that the national minimum wage (NMW) will increase on 1st October, according to a survey by Bibby Financial Services.
The survey also revealed that one in three also don’t know what the minimum wage is for adults aged 22 and over, and one in four believe the rise will be much greater than it actually will be.
From October 1st, employees on the minimum wage aged 22 and over should receive an increase of 21 pence to their hourly rate, taking it to £5.73 – but a quarter of firms wrongly believed it would go up 51p to £6.03.
The confusion exists despite Government efforts to publicise the increase through posters, online advertising and radio adverts. Bibby global chief executive David Robertson said:
“It’s worrying that there is still so much uncertainty among small businesses about national minimum wage levels, particularly when the Government is introducing tougher penalties for firms who fail to abide by minimum wage legislation,”.
Ann Mitchell, spokeswoman for the public sector union Unison said:
“Employers who fail to pay the minimum wage risk fines of up to £5,000 and criminal prosecution.”
“Ignorance is no defence in the law. The Government needs to be more vigilant in ensuring that employers do pay the minimum wage and are aware of any increases to it. We’re not talking about huge increases. People are paying more for their food, gas, fuel, heating and they can’t afford to miss out on this increase.”
The Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR), however, insisted that the Government has been doing its best to let businesses know about the rise.
“The Government ran a coordinated campaign to raise awareness of the minimum wage and highlight where workers and employers can go for advice or make a complaint,” said BERR spokeswoman Una Flynn.
“This included national and regional radio, an outreach bus tour of the country, posters, online advertising and a separate outreach campaign targeting migrant workers. We are now in the process of introducing stronger penalties for failure to pay the minimum wage as part of the Employment Bill, which is currently before Parliament”
Employers who are uncertain about when and how to implement the minimum wage increase can call the minimum wage helpline on 0845 6000 678
Read our article on national minimum wage for more information.