Long hours –big fines; why keeping up with changes to the national minimum wage is essential to the construction sector.

We wrote a blog a few months back looking at the problem of long hours in the UK construction sector. Back then we were looking at how the industry might not be so financially attractive to senior industry members when you compare hours to wage. This time we want to take a look at those at the bottom of the industry ladder and how the long hours that industry might be pushing your company towards working are breaking the law around the national minimum wage. ms1

BIS (The Department for Business Innovation and Skills) are promoting the changes to the national minimum wage through their spot the difference campaign, encouraging employers to ensure that they have met the legal requirements.  As they point out, the minimum wage, whilst not in itself a complex concept, can throw up some tricky situations. For example: – the hours worked; the need for protective equipment; and costs of travelling to work can all have implications.

Therefore, an apprentice paid the national minimum wage based upon a typical 40 hour week, who works an additional ten hours a week without additional pay, would now be earning less than the minimum wage.

The reason we in construction need to take a closer look at this is because, not only should we be paying our employees enough to live on as its good for business, BUT if after BIS have finished promoting the changes to the scheme they decide to go down the enforcement route you could find yourself on the receiving end of a rather large fine.

So take a look at the video, factsheet and supporting quizzes produced by BIS to make sure that you are doing what it takes to ensure your employees are receiving the minimum they require to live a decent life.