The National Minimum Wage (NMW)
It is illegal to pay for an employer to pay an individual in their employment a wage which is below the national minimum wage.
Employees and the national minimum wage
Employees must be paid in an hourly rate according to the national minimum wage. It is not legal to pay an individual who is an employee according to a different variable such as the number of rooms cleaned if this rate takes them below the national minimum wage.
Individuals who are employed on a freelance basis such as freelance writers are able to be paid according to other variables such as how many articles they write but if an individual is deemed to be an employee they have certain rights which are provided to them under the Employment Rights Act 1996. One of these rights is to be paid according to the national minimum wage.
Has this situation occurred recently?
In a recent case a cleaning company which operated the cleaning contract for a high profile UK hotel has been found in breach of the regulations concerning the national minimum wage.
What happened in this case?
In this case many of the staff were working a total of 40 hours per week cleaning the rooms in the hotel. However, some of them were being paid half of what they should have earned according to the national minimum wage.
The employees had signed agreements with the employer stating that they would be paid a minimum hourly rate. However, when they received their wage slips they found that they had instead been paid an amount according to the number of rooms which they had cleaned.
For more information on:
- What was the outcome of this case?
- Why does this practice often occur in this and similar industries?