Rogue employers still paying below minimum wage

Employers have been forced to pay out nearly £5 million in
salary arrears to workers receiving less than the national minimum wage,
according to figures released by the Department of Trade and Industry today.

Despite fewer complaints against employers, the Government
has found that rogue bosses are underpaying their staff by three times as much
as last year.

More than £3 million has been recovered by compliance
officer during the year April 2000 to April 2001, compared to £1.2 million in
the same period last year.

Commenting on the report, employment relations minister Alan
Johnson said, “I’m delighted that the overall number of complaints is falling,
but the Government will not rest on its laurels. We are determined to root out
bad bosses and eradicate pockets of poverty pay.”

Other findings reveals that compliance teams completed more
than 7,000 investigations as a result of complaints made to the helpline,
compared to 6,000 last year.

The average arrears of employers failing to pay the minimum
wage has also increased to £418 from £205 in 2000/2001.

“There will continue to be minimum tolerance towards
employers who flout the law,” Johnson added.

Karen Higginbottom

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