The Government has unveiled plans to name and shame companies that pay workers below the minimum wage, as the new rates for the national minimum wage come into effect.
Employment relations minister Edward Davey (pictured) told employers that they would have three months to put their houses in order before the scheme to name companies who pay too little are named from January 2011.
The new national minimum wage rates are:
â- £4.92 per hour for 18- to 20-year-olds
â- £3.64 for 16- to 17-year-olds
For the first time there is also an apprentice minimum wage of £2.50 per hour. The new rate applies to those apprentices who are under 19 or those aged 19 and over who are in the first year of their apprenticeship.
Davey said: "Bad publicity can be a powerful weapon in the fight against employers who try to cheat their workers and their competitors. Their reputation can be badly damaged if they are seen to be flouting the law.
"Responsible employers should also make themselves aware of the new rates that come into effect (from 1 October). The increases to the national minimum wage this year are appropriate for the economic climate."
The new rates come as HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills published their national minimum wage report for 2009/10. It reveals that HMRC identified over £4.4m in arrears for over 19,000 workers. The average arrears per worker for the year were £228, which is 18% higher than the previous year, when it was £193.
By Neil Gerrard
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