Labour exploitation: National Minimum Wage campaign

Wednesday 19th June 2019 09:11 EDT

A recent poll has revealed that many workers are unaware of their rights and do not know that their time spent travelling between assignments for their job should be counted as working time. As part of renewed focus on National Minimum Wage (NMW), the Government has launched a campaign to create awareness around paid travel time following the introduction of the new payslip legislation in April this year.

As of April 2019, the UK National Minimum Wage stands at £8.21/hour in comparison to £7.81 per hour for people aged 25 recording an increase of about 5%. NWM mandates the least amount of wages a worker could be paid for an hour's work. There are four minimum wages below this amount for younger workers and apprentices:

National Minimum Wage as of April 2019:


25 and over

21 to 24

18 to 20

Under 18


April 2019






As part of a wider move to end low pay, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) is encouraging workers who may be at risk of not being paid correctly to speak to their employer or make a complaint to HMRC. Only last year reports had emerged about Leicester's manufacturing industry being rife with so-called sweatshops that which do not employment laws and in turn recruit workers who are paid as little as £3.50 an hour. Leicester has the second highest concentration of textile manufacturers in the country with 700 factories employing 10,000 textile workers according to a Hansard report “The social cost of our clothes”.

Legislation clearly states that the time spent travelling for the purpose of working qualifies for the national minimum wage. However, travelling time between home and work does not qualify. HMRC has identified £24.4 million in back pay for more than 220,000 workers who did not receive the minimum wage, up from £15.6 million last year, and issued £17m in financial penalties to employers who breached the rules.

“We are leaving no stone unturned and are cracking down on employers who fail to pay the National Minimum Wage and National Living Wage.

“Through our modern Industrial Strategy, we are determined to end low pay and boost the earning power of people right across the country,” said Kelly Tolhurst, Business Minister.

Worker’s concerned about under payment can fill in the online pay and work rights complaints form on GOV.UK or can call the Acas helpline on 0300 123 1100.

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