Martin Lewis explains how to check if you’re being underpaid as he co-hosts GMB with Susanna Reid
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Consumer champion Martin Lewis has explained eight ways people can check if they are being underpaid. The Money Saving Expert founder revealed the checklist as he co-presented Good Morning Britain with Susanna Reid this morning (Wednesday, April 19).
The advice comes after the National Minimum Wage (NMW) went up significantly in April to coincide with the rise in inflation, which still stands at over 10 per cent. But according to Mr Lewis, around 500,000 people still aren’t getting paid what they should be.
The move by the government saw the main NMW for aged 23 and over increase from £9.50 to £10.42 per hour, while the “adult” rate for those from 21-22 increased from £9.18 to £10.19.
Workers aged 18 - 20 say their pay go up from £6.83 to £7.49, the Young Workers rate (age 16-17) went from £4.81 to £5.28 and the Apprentice rate from £4.81 to £5.28.
“It’s important to understand this isn’t just for people who are paid hourly,” said Mr Lewis. “This applies even if you are on a salary. For example, if you work 35 hours a week and you’re aged 23 then you should earn a minimum of £19,964 a year.
“Those are the rates, but people can still be underpaid.” Mr Lewis went on to reveal eight ways employers can dodge paying the National Minimum Wage:
Uniform, tools and safety clothing
“If, as part of your employment, you have to pay for your uniform or tools or safety clothing or appropriate clothing and the cost of those once it is taken off, your wage puts you less than the minimum wage. You are being underpaid, and they are not allowed to do that.”
Paid for all working time
“You must be paid for all of your working time,” said Mr Lewis. “This includes overtime training, travel time, not commuting, waiting time, opening up time.
“So let’s say you’re doing a security check and you’re not paid for that. At the start of your shift, you don’t get paid - you only get paid once your hours start.
“If you were to factor those hours in and that was to take you below minimum wage, which it would for anyone who’s only at the bottom end of minimum wage, then you are being underpaid.”
Minimum wage should rise
“The next thing to notice is your minimum wage should rise each April on the first full pay cycle, which means the first amount of pay that comes after April,” said Mr Lewis.
“So if you started being paid the second of April to the second of May, then you would get the money for that, and your pay should go up when you turn 18, 21 and 23 because there are different rates.”
“Next, for anyone who gets accommodation as part of their job, they are allowed to reduce what you get below the minimum wage. But only by a maximum of £63.70 a week.
“And that includes any accommodation costs for gas, electricity, furniture and laundry that you get as part of your accommodation. “
Can’t ‘top up’ with tips or overtime
“For those who get tips or overtime, it has to be on top of the minimum wage that does not count towards the minimum wage. Your basic standard minimum wage must be part of that.
“And if you have a higher overtime rate and they try to use that as a justification, why they can give you a lower standard rate, it doesn’t work. The standard rate you get should be at minimum wage next one."
Commission only - employers must top up to minimum wage
“If you’re on commission only, and you’re not getting the minimum wage, employers have to top it up,” Mr Lewis said. “If you do not have set hours, they need to work it out via a fair estimate of how long it would take you to do the job getting towards the end of the apprentice rate.”
Apprentice rate only for real apprentices
“You need to be a real apprentice, and that means you should have structured training as part of what you do. If not, you are not an apprentice.
“You should be on the rate for your age, and you may be being underpaid if you’re not.”
Don’t assume firm is too big to get this wrong
“And finally, don’t think all of these are for little firms trying to play fast and loose. In the past, we have had name and shames of John Lewis, Sheffield United Body Shop and many other big companies who have got it wrong.
“So don’t assume if you’re on the minimum wage working for a big firm that you’re being paid the right amount go through this checklist.”