Living on minimum wage is difficult enough during the cost of living crisis.
And to make matters worse, consumer expert Martin Lewis revealed that a significant number of Brits aren’t being paid enough. He cited annual figures from the Low Pay commission from 2022, which showed more than 333,000 people on minimum wage are being underpaid.
This could mean they are missing out on hundreds – but thankfully, there are checks you can do to prevent this from happening. Here’s everything you need to know.
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On the Money Saving Expert website, Martin explained that the UK minimum wage rates differ by age. As of April 1, 2023, it’s been the law to pay apprentices and under-18s at least £5.28 an hour.
This rises to £7.49 an hour for 18-21 year olds, £10.18 an hour for the 21-22 category and £10.42 an hour for over 23s. And they apply even if you’re not receiving an hourly wage.
Seven ways you could be underpaid on minimum wage, according to Martin Lewis
1. Uniform, tools and safety clothing
After forking out for these items, you should not be below minimum wage.
2. You should be paid for all working time
Take note of any overtime you work – including security checks, handover meetings, opening up and being on call – as you’re owed more pay if these take you below minimum wage.
3. Tips and overtime don’t contribute
These are additional to minimum wage payments and should not be considered as “top ups”.
4. Be wary of commission only work
Employers are required to top up salaries if commissions don’t amount to minimum wage.
5. Accommodation costs can change things
Pay can be reduced if your employer provides accommodation or utilities like rent, gas and electricity. But you should note this can only drop down by a maximum of £63.70 a week.
6. Check your apprenticeship is legit
If your apprenticeship isn’t giving you anything back – like structured training on the job – you could be getting underpaid.
7. Keep track of minimum wage rises
Double check your employer is paying you the rate it increased to on April 1, 2023. And it’s worth seeing if it went up if you turned 18, 21 and 23 too.
For more information about minimum pay, visit the gov.uk website.
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