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Are you paying minimum wages? HMRC recently had a crackdown on employers breaking the law by having workers who were paid below the national minimum wage. As a result 708 employers were fined automatic penalty charges of up to £5,000 and more than £4 million has been paid as back pay to workers to top up their wages which had been paid below the legal minimum rate. In addition, one national retailer which stipulated that employees had to purchase specific items of clothing from its range as uniform, had to repay almost £170,000 to more than 6,000 staff. Employers should make sure that any deductions they are making from wages should not take the worker under the national minimum wage. The national minimum wage in the UK is £6.19 per hour for workers aged 21 and over, and this will rise to £6.31 from 1 October 2013. Staff aged 18-20 are currently entitled to at least £4.98 per hour, while the rate for under-18s is £3.68. Apprentices who are either under 19 years of age or in their first year of training are to be paid at least £2.65 per hour.

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