£3m for workers cheated out of minimum wage

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Indy Politics

Employers who refused to give the minimum wage to their staff have been forced to pay £3m in arrears.

Employers who refused to give the minimum wage to their staff have been forced to pay £3m in arrears.

Government enforcers made employers pay wage arrears to more than 5,000 low-paid workers over the past eight months. They received £2,888,926 from their employers, the equivalent of £550 each, government figures released yesterday showed.

News of the payments, some of which were backdated to the introduction of the minimum wage in 1999, came as ministers warned that bosses would not get away with short-changing their staff. Alan Johnson, the Employment minister, said yesterday employers who broke the law by paying peppercorn wages would be tracked down.

"Today's figures send a clear message to unscrupulous employers. We are committed to delivering decent standards at work and scrooge bosses will not get away with poverty pay," he said. Among those benefiting from the crackdown was a cleaner, 73, given the £1,118 he had been denied because his employer did not realise the minimum wage applied to workers over 65.

The minimum wage since October has been £4.20 an hour for people aged 22 and over and £3.60 for those aged 18 to 21.

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