Research carried out by the Low Pay Commission (LPC) has suggested that a 'record number' of UK workers are being underpaid.
The LPC found that, in April 2018, 439,000 workers were paid less than the National Minimum Wage (NMW). Of this amount, 369,000 were employees aged 25 and over, who were paid less than the National Living Wage (NLW). The NLW applies for workers aged 25 and over, and currently stands at £8.21 an hour.
On 1 April 2019, the NMW and NLW rates rose. Workers aged between 21 and 24 are entitled to at least £7.70 an hour. The NMW for those aged between 18 and 20 is £6.15, and the minimum wage for employees aged 16 or 17 is £4.35. Apprentices are currently entitled to at least £3.90 per hour. NMW and NLW rates change every April.
The LPC also revealed that women are 'more likely' than men to be paid less than the NMW, and that underpayment is common amongst younger and older workers.
Commenting on the findings, Bryan Sanderson, Chair of the LPC, said: 'Our analysis reveals a worrying number of people are being paid less than the minimum wage. We recently celebrated 20 years of the minimum wage – it has raised pay for millions of workers, but it is essential that people receive what they are entitled to.
'It is also vital for businesses to be able to operate on a level playing field, and not be illegally undercut on wages.'