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Local businesses warned over minimum wage

minimum wageINCREASED fines are being introduced next month to ensure that all employers pay their workers the National Minimum Wage. The change, which will see the maximum fine per employer rise from £5,000 to £20,000, has received the support of Preseli Pembrokeshire MP Stephen Crabb.

This comes ahead of next month’s expected recommendation from the Low Pay Commission on the minimum wage level for 2014. The National Minimum Wage for adults is currently set at £6.31 an hour, having risen by 12p an hour in October. The rate for 18-to-20-year-olds is£5.03 an hour, while it is £3.72 an hour for the 16-to-17-year-old age group.

Employers in Pembrokeshire and across the Country caught breaking the law currently have to pay any unpaid wages plus a financial penalty. The maximum penalty will now quadruple to £20,000.

Commenting, Stephen Crabb MP said: “The National Minimum Wage is an important tool in helping those workers at the lower end of the pay scale particularly in areas like Pembrokeshire. It is absolutely unacceptable for workers to be paid less than the minimum wage and the increase in fines will act as a strong incentive for businesses to make sure this does not happen.”

“There has been a strong debate in recent months about the cost of living and I would like to see the National Minimum Wage increase – but not at the expense of the current jobs growth.”

He added, “With the increase in the Personal Allowance taking thousands in Pembrokeshire out of Income Tax, the freeze in Fuel Duty, and now with inflation falling to its lowest level since 2009, there are a number of other ways in which the financial burden for those on the lowest incomes is being eased. But clearly there is more to do.”