Four in 10 workers wrongly believe they are not entitled to a minimum wage for the time they spend travelling between assignments, highlighting the need for employers to check they are fully compliant with wage rules.
Under national minimum wage (NMW) and national living wage (NLW) legislation, workers have the right to be paid for the time they spend travelling between different assignments during their working day. However, a poll of 2,001 workers commissioned by Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) found 39% of staff were not aware they had this entitlement.
National minimum wage
Older workers were less likely to be aware of this right, with 52% of 55-64 year olds thinking they should not be paid for travel during work hours. Only 31% of 16-24 year olds had this misunderstanding.
Awareness of the requirement was more prevalent among male staff (54%) than female (36%).
The poll was commissioned as part of BEIS’s campaign to raise awareness of NMW and NLW compliance, which encourages all workers to check their payslips for any irregularities and offers advice on how they can handle any issues.
All workers, regardless of their employment status, have been entitled to a payslip since 6 April.
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HM Revenue & Customs said around £24.4 million in back pay is owed to more than 220,000 workers who have not received the minimum wage. This is up from £15.6 million last year.
A total of £17 million in penalties have been issues to employers that have failed to pay workers correctly.
According to the Low Pay Commission, 439,000 people were paid below the rate they were entitled to in the year to April 2018. Around 369,000 were workers aged 25 and over and should have received the national living wage.
Business minister Kelly Tolhurst said: “We are leaving no stone unturned and are cracking down on employers who fail to pay the national minimum wage and national living wage.
“All workers deserve a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work and, as our latest figures demonstrate, we are recouping more money than ever before for people that have not been paid correctly.”
Jane Gratton, head of business environment and skills at the British Chambers of Commerce, said it was crucial that employers were aware of recent changes to minimum wage rates and checked their pay rates were compliant.
“The increase in the NMW/NLW will impact on businesses across a variety of sectors and regions, and firms need to review their systems to ensure they are meeting their responsibilities to employees,” she said.
“While it’s been a time of great change and uncertainty for UK business communities, the importance of staying compliant and avoiding the possibility of penalties has not diminished.”