Ten Ridiculous (But Completely Real) Excuses For Not Paying Minimum Wage


Sometimes, you read something online, and you can’t possibly believe that it’s true. Sure, it might make for a funny or thought-provoking story, but you don’t actually think for one minute that it really happened.

It’s there to prove a point, or start a conversation, or even just provide a little bit of light-hearted entertainment.


Sadly this isn't always the case. We've shared some of the worst excuses that employers have made for not paying minimum wage. You’d be forgiven for thinking that SURELY, these aren’t things that real employers have said.

No one could possibly be that shortsighted, or irresponsible. But the fact of the matter is that these are real excuses, collected by government-funded research, that bosses gave for breaking the law by paying their staff below the legislated amount.

The worst excuses for not paying staff the minimum wage

  1. “She doesn’t deserve the national minimum wage because she only makes the teas and sweeps the floors.”

  2. “The national minimum wage doesn’t apply to my business.”

  3. “My employee is still learning so they aren’t entitled to the national minimum wage.”

  4. “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.”

  5. “I thought it was okay 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.”

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

  7. “The employee wasn’t a good worker so I didn’t think they deserved to be paid the national minimum wage.”

  8. “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.”

  9. “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.”

  10. “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.”

As much as we'd be happy to provide commentary on WHY all of these excuses are completely and utterly unacceptable… some things just speak for themselves!

Changes to National Minimum Wage and National Living Wage

If you aren’t paying the minimum wage, you’re breaking the law. And there are serious consequences for your business if you are caught.


It doesn’t matter how long you've been in business, whether you think your employees are performing at the desired level, or if you think the minimum wage is the right amount to pay - the minimum wage is set and you must abide by the law.


The National Minimum Wage is the minimum pay per hour for all workers under 25 years. The rate varies depending on your age and whether you’re an apprentice.

The National Living Wage is the minimum pay per hour for all worked aged 25 and over.

New National Minimum Wage limits from 1 April 2019:

  • National Living Wage (25 years+) raises from £7.83 to £8.21 per hour

  • National Minimum Wage (21-14 years) raises from £7.38 to £7.70 per hour

  • National Minimum Wage (18-20 years) raises from £5.90 to £6.15 per hour

  • National Minimum Wage (16-17 years) raises from £4.20 to £4.35 per hour

  • Apprentice rate raises from £3.70 to £3.90 per hour (this rate is applied if the Apprentice is aged under 19, or over 19 and in their first year of their Apprenticeship.)

If you are unsure or you know that you aren't paying the correct hourly rate in regards to the law, then you need to take action.

If you feel you could do with guidance and support in regards to employment law then give us a call on 01722 325833. We'd be happy to discuss your situation and how we can help you.

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22 Queen Street

Salisbury

SP1 1EY

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