There has been much press commentary recently regarding HMRC’s pursuit of football clubs who stand accused of paying certain “employees” below the NMW. This action is being taken due to complaints HMRC has received from ballboys and club mascots who receive no payment for their time.

 All employers are required to pay their employees at least the NMW rates. However, there are a number of persons not entitled to the minimum wage. They are:

  • self-employed people
  • company directors
  • volunteers or voluntary workers
  • workers on a government employment programme, e.g. the Work Programme
  • family members of the employer living in the employer’s home
  • non-family members living in the employer’s home who share in the work and leisure activities, are treated as one of the family and aren’t charged for meals or accommodation (e.g. au pairs)
  • workers younger than school leaving age (usually 16)
  • higher and further education students on a work placement up to 1 year
  • workers on government pre-apprenticeships schemes
  • people on the following European Union programmes: Leonardo da Vinci, Youth in Action, Erasmus, Comenius
  • people working in a Jobcentre Plus Work trial for 6 weeks
  • members of the armed forces
  • share fishermen
  • prisoners
  • people living and working in a religious community

HMRC took enforcement action against more than 700 employers last year who were each fined up to £5,000 for non-compliance with the NMW rules. HMRC also secured back pay for over 26,000 employees, to top up their wages to the appropriate NMW rate.

The NMW rates are changing from 1 October 2013:

  • the main adult rate (for workers 21 and over) will increase by 12p to £6.31 an hour
  • the rate for 18-20 year olds will increase by 5p to £5.03 an hour
  • the rate for 16-17 year olds will increase by 4p to £3.72 an hour
  • the rate for apprentices will increase by 3p to £2.68 an hour
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