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Office workers ‘cheated’ out of minimum wage, TUC claims

29 Mar 2024 3 minute read
Photo Lauren Hurley/PA Wire

Office workers and other salaried staff could be at risk of being “cheated” out of the minimum wage, unions are warning.

Ahead of the introduction of the new minimum wage rate from Monday, the TUC said a salaried worker is paid an annual amount which stays the same regardless of fluctuations in the hours they work.

The union organisation said it was easily able to find online adverts for salaried jobs still advertised below the incoming minimum wage.

Salaried workers will find that they are being illegally underpaid if their salaries do not rise, said the TUC.

It warned that desk-based office workers are often expected to put in hours of overtime as part of their job.

Bad bosses

TUC general secretary Paul Nowak said: “The minimum wage is the very least employers should pay their workers. It’s their legal duty.

“But too many workers are cheated out of pay by bad bosses, who choose to pay staff illegally low rates.

“Minimum wage cheats exploit workers from a range of jobs – and desk-based office jobs are no exception.

“To make matters worse, many desk-based workers are expected to put in hours of overtime for free.”

The Living Wage Foundation highlighted the difference between the new official adult rate of £11.44 an hour and the voluntary so-called Real Living Wage of £12, and £13.15 in London.

Katherine Chapman, director of the foundation, said: “The rise in the statutory National Living Wage from April 1 is welcome news for the 3.7 million low paid workers across the country, but this still falls short of a wage which takes into account the real cost of living.

“Over 14,000 employers across the UK are Living Wage accredited and committed to going above the Government minimum to ensure their staff are always paid in line with the cost of living.

“Over the last few years of tough economic times, it has been heartening to see so many more businesses join the movement.

“As well as good for workers and their families, business that pay the real Living Wage report improved staff retention and productivity.”

Legal requirement

A Government spokesperson said: “Paying the minimum wage is a legal requirement, including all office workers.

“Any employee who thinks they are not being paid correctly should speak to their employer or can speak to Acas confidentially.

“We are increasing the National Living Wage from April for 21-plus-year-olds by almost 10%, giving a full-time worker on this rate a pay rise of over £1,800 a year.”

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