Women less aware of minimum wage rights

Women are more likely to think travel between assignments during the working day does not need to be paid, says a new poll.

Money

 

Women are much less likely to believe they should be paid for time spent travelling between assignments for their job which could mean many may effectively be being paid less than the minimum wage, a Government poll has revealed.

The poll of over 2,000 people for the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) found 39% of people wrong think the National Minimum Wage/National Living Wage [NMW/NLW] should not be paid for the time they spend travelling during working hours.

It shows more than half (54%) of men believe the NMW/NLW should be paid for the time they spend travelling during working hours, compared to just 36% of women. Older people were less likely to believe they should be paid for time spent travelling between assignments.

The poll comes in the wake of a National Minimum/ Living Wage compliance campaign aimed at employers following the increase in the rates on 1 April 2019 and a subsequent initiative encouraging people to check they are being paid what they are entitled to after new payslip legislation was introduced.

It also follows a report by the Low Pay Commission which found non-compliance on the minimum wage is on the rise and a call from the TUC for the government to restart naming and shaming employers who fail to pay the NMW/NLW. The Low Pay Commission report also found that women were more likely to be underpaid than men.

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.

It says legislation makes clear time spent travelling for the purpose of working (for example between different assignments) qualifies for the national minimum wage. However, travelling time between home and work does not qualify.

The poll also explored awareness of the NMW/NLW rates and payslip understanding and how confident workers were in querying their pay with their employer. BEIS is encouraging all workers to check their payslips. The Government says it has  launched a £1m awareness campaign for workers this year and has doubled HMRC’s enforcement budget since 2015.

In April 2016 it introduced tougher penalties for employers who don’t pay the NMW, making them liable to be charged up to 200% of the wage arrears owed to workers.

Jane Gratton, Head of Business Environment and Skills at the British Chambers of Commerce, said: “Many businesses already pay above the National Minimum/ Living Wage, but it’s crucial that all employers are aware of the recent changes to wage rates and check to ensure they remain fully compliant with the legislation.”

“The increase in the NMW/ NLW will impact on businesses across a variety of sectors and regions, and firms need to review their systems to ensure they are meeting their responsibilities to employees.”

Workers aged 25 and over are legally entitled to at least the NLW. Workers aged under 25 are legally entitled to at least the NMW.

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.

For more information visit: www.gov.uk/checkyourpay

The poll comes amid increasing political debate around low pay as studies show that many working families are living below the poverty line due to low pay and the impact of austerity. Chancellor Philip Hammond was reported this weekend to be considering a significant increase to the NMW/NLW.  Meanwhile, a new report from Professor Guy Standing at SOAS says every adult in the UK should receive a weekly basic income of £48. Labour, which has spoken about the need for a basic income in the face of the potential impact of Artificial Intelligence on jobs, has said it will study the report ahead of drawing up its next manifesto.



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