British prime minister David Cameron said yesterday he would introduce tough fines for company bosses who fail to pay the so-called ‘national living wage’, which will hit £9 (€12.25) an hour by the end of the decade.
The UK’s current minimum wage, for those aged 21 and over, is £6.50 an hour and will rise to £6.70 per hour in October.
Britain’s finance minister, George Osborne, said that, from April 2016, employers will have to pay a ‘national living wage’ of at least £7.20 per hour to over-25s.
“The national living wage will only work if it is properly enforced,” Mr Cameron said in an article for The Times newspaper yesterday.
“Businesses are responsible for making that happen, and today I’m announcing how we will make sure they do.”
Fines for non-payment will double, opening up employers to a penalty of 200% of unpaid wages up to a maximum of £20,000, The Times reported.
Company bosses who fail to pay face disqualification as company directors for up to 15 years, the newspaper added.
“To unscrupulous employers who think they can get labour on the cheap, the message is clear: Underpay your staff, and you will pay the price,” said Mr Cameron.
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