60,000 workers are owed pay by minimum wage-dodging employers

209,000 jobs don't pay minimum wage of £6.70

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The number of people owed money by employers who have dodged paying minimum wage has more than doubled, according to new data from the National Audit Office.

58,000 people are owed wages for 2015/16, up from 26,000 in 2014/15 – an increase of 32,000, or 123 per cent.

Meanwhile, the NAO said HM Revenue & Customs has identified £68 million of wages owed to more than 313,000 workers since the government began enforcing the minimum wage in 1999.

The report also noted a bulletin from the Office for National Statistics, released in April, which estimated 209,000 jobs were paying less than the minimum wage (£6.70) to workers over 16 years old, as of April 2015.

John McDonnell, Labour’s shadow chancellor, said:

‘The fact that we have 209,000 jobs still not paying the minimum wage in our economy plus we have seen a hike of 32,000 in the past year of the number of people still waiting for the money they are owed for a hard days work should bring shame to George Osborne and this Tory government who pretend to be on the side of working people.’

However, the NAO said HMRC had ‘significantly reduced the average time taken to investigate complaints about employers’ non-compliance with the National Minimum Wage’.

72 per cent of open cases were less than 120 days old as of December 2015, compared to 42 per cent in December 2013. But it added that 17 per cent of cases saw people wait 240 days for a resolution.

HMRC has fined minimum wage-dodging employers £5.6 million between 2009/10 and 2015/16 and prosecuted nine employers.

Amyas Morse, head of the NAO, said:

‘With the implementation of the National Living Wage, it is even more important that the government ensures its compliance programme reflects the changing risks within the labour market, and maintains its progress in ensuring all employers pay the minimum wage.

‘The government also needs to reduce the time it takes to investigate complaints and resolve cases.’

The National Living Wage will start at £7.20, though the Living Wage Foundation calculates a living wage as £8.25 nationally and £9.40 in London.

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