World Economy

UK Employers Underpay Workers

UK Employers Underpay Workers UK Employers Underpay Workers

UK employers have underpaid their workers by £68 million ($98 million) since 1999, according to the body that scrutinizes government spending.

In the fiscal year through March, the number of workers owed arrears more than doubled to 58,000 from 26,000 in 2014-15, the National Audit Office said in a report published Wednesday. It singled out the social-care sector as “a concern,” saying that about 11% of workers in the industry may not be paid the national minimum wage, news outlets reported.

Since 2013, the government has named-and-shamed 490 employers for failing to pay the minimum wage, which rose to £7.20 an hour from April 1. In the past six years, Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs, the UK tax authority, has imposed fines totaling £5.6 million on non-compliant employers.

Significant numbers of some of the UK’s poorest-paid workers are facing lengthy waits for wages they are legally entitled to, a report has found.

The National Audit Office has probed the way in which employers’ non-compliance with the National Minimum Wage has been dealt with.

It found that HM Revenue and Customs, the enforcement body for the NMW, has generally cut the length of time taken to investigate reports of workers being under-paid.

But many of those making complaints still have to wait over 240 days (around eight months) to get their cases resolved.

 ‘Built on Sand’

Fresh evidence of the escalating crisis in Britain’s care home industry has emerged in the report.

The taxman is launching a crackdown on care home operators amid fears that more than one in ten workers is not being paid the new national living wage.

The industry—which has been hit with a raft of home closures and accusations of poor patient care—has been singled out for criticism following an inquiry by the National Audit Office.

One MP described the figures as ‘shocking’ and said the entire industry was ‘built on sand’.

An industry analyst warned many care homes face a stark choice between ‘complying and surviving’, and predicted the living wage will drive care homes across the country out of business.

The government spending watchdog looked at whether firms are paying staff at least the minimum wage and how successful HMRC has been at chasing them up for the money they owe.

The NAO cited figures from the Low Pay Commission which said up to 11% of care home workers are not paid the lower minimum wage. This equates to roughly 160,000 staff.

The taxman closed 172 investigations into care homes between April 2015 and December 2015 and is currently investigating a further 141 firms.