Some of the country’s lowest paid workers have received a multi-million pound pre-Christmas boost from an unlikely quarter – the Inland Revenue.
Investigations by tax inspectors have recovered £2.4 million from scrooge bosses who have not been paying workers the national minimum wage, trade and industry secretary Patricia Hewitt has said.
More than 5,000 low paid workers received a pay boost after Revenue teams identified and investigated more than 3,000 cases over the past six months.
The total amount got back from employers since the introduction of the national minimum wage in April 1999 is nearly £18 million, said Hewitt.
Recent cases included four doormen in East Kilbride who received £26,500 after their employer did not pay them the national minimum wage.
A holiday company based in Devon and Cornwall was forced to pay £177,000 in wage arrears to 41 workers.
The company had employed husband and wife teams as park managers, with some on duty for more 100 hours per week. Several of the workers received between £5,000 and £10,000 each.
An educational institution in the south west of England employed workers to be on duty overnight to provide health and safety cover for the students who lived on the site.
They were paid significantly less than the national minimum. After an investigation, it was forced to pay £17,902 in back-dated wages, shared between the four.
Hewitt said: “It’s great news that this money was recovered in time for Christmas, but employees should be covered throughout the year - not just during the season of goodwill.”
While the vast majority of employers were happy to comply with the rules, the Government was determined low paid workers should get the pay to which they were entitled, she stressed.
“We carry on tracking down those unscrupulous bosses who refuse to pay the national minimum wage when they should be and make them pay up,” Hewitt added.
The national minimum wage is £4.85 for workers aged 22 and over, £4.10 for workers aged 18-21 and £3 for 16 and 17 year olds.