A record number of workers in the UK are being paid less than the minimum wage, a report has found.
An estimated 439,000 people were illegally paid below the hourly minimum wage in April last year, including 369,000 people who are supposed to receive the “national living wage” because they are aged 25 or over. The NLW figure was 30,000 more than the previous year and the highest since it was introduced in 2016.
The report by the Low Pay Commission found a higher proportion of women were underpaid the NLW than men, and the youngest and oldest were more affected than other age groups.
Katherine Chapman, the director of the Living Wage Foundation, said that although the report’s findings were shocking, around 6 million people earned less than what she called the real living wage of £9 an hour, or £10.55 in London and were “struggling to keep their heads above water. We need to see more employers commit to pay a real living wage that covers the cost of living, to provide security and stability for workers and their families,” she said.The head of the Trades Union Congress, Frances O’Grady, said every worker deserved fair pay for their work. “There can be no exceptions to the minimum wage and there should be no hiding place for bad employers – that’s why the government must restart naming and shaming bad bosses who cheat their workers out of pay.”