Here are the top 10 excuses for firms to dodge paying staff the minimum wage

Mark Sands
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All workers over 25 are entitled to an hourly wage of £7.20. (Source: Getty)

Employers have refused to pay the minimum wage because staff only make tea, aren't good workers or think of themselves as self-employed, the government has revealed.

A bizarre list of excuses from employers has been revealed by the government ahead of a £1.7m marketing blitz on the minimum wage.

The top ten list also includes one employer who told HMRC that shop staff should only be paid for time spent serving customers.

Launching today, the government campaign is designed to make sure all workers are paid at least the national minimum or national living wage.

By law, all workers must earn at least £7.20 an hour if they are 25 or over, with other rates relevant for younger employees.

Business Minister Margot James said: “There are no excuses for underpaying staff what they are legally entitled to.

“This campaign will raise awareness among the lowest paid in society about what they must legally receive and I would encourage anyone who thinks they may be paid less to contact Acas as soon as possible.”


1. The employee wasn’t a good worker so I didn’t think they deserved to be paid the National Minimum Wage.

2. It’s part of UK culture not to pay young workers for the first three months as they have to prove their ‘worth’ first.

3. I thought it was ok to pay foreign workers below the National Minimum Wage as they aren’t British and therefore don’t have the right to be paid it.

4. She doesn’t deserve the National Minimum Wage because she only makes the teas and sweeps the floors.

5. I’ve got an agreement with my workers that I won’t pay them the National Minimum Wage; they understand and they even signed a contract to this effect.

6. My accountant and I speak a different language – he doesn't understand me and that's why he doesn’t pay my workers the correct wages.

7. My workers like to think of themselves as being self-employed and the National Minimum Wage doesn’t apply to people who work for themselves.

8. My workers are often just on standby when there are no customers in the shop; I only pay them for when they’re actually serving someone.

9. My employee is still learning so they aren't entitled to the National Minimum Wage.

10. The National Minimum Wage doesn’t apply to my business.

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