Hartlepool workers among those denied over Â£15million in minimum wage earnings - here's how to claim your fair day's pay
Advice experts in Hartlepool are urging people who believe they are being paid less than the minimum wage to contact them.
A national report revealed over 200,000 employees are still being left out of pocket.
Citizens Advice Hartlepool says it regularly helps workers on a wide range of issues over minimum pay levels - almost 20 years since it was introduced.
A record £15.6m worth of underpayment was discovered by Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) in the last year.
Citizens Advice Hartlepool says it has dealt with a number cases in the last six months including a 41-year-old social club worker only being paid £4.50 an hour, and a 35-year-old employee only being paid £5 an hour at a takeaway.
The National Living Wage (NLW) which is also the National Minimum Wage, is currently £7.83 an hour for workers over 25, £7.38 for those aged 21-24, £5.90 for 18-20-year-olds, £4.20 if aged 16–17 rate, and £3.70 for apprentices.
Joe Michna, Citizens Advice Hartlepool manager and employment law specialist, said: “The figures released by HMRC do not come as a surprise to us. We regularly advise and assist local employees on the full range of issues related to the NLW.
“Quite often our intervention brings about change and the employer agrees to pay the NLW.
“Thankfully, it is only a minority of employers who evade their responsibilities by not paying the NLW.
“I have been giving employment law advice for 31 years and still come across cases which shock me regarding how some employers will deliberately deny their employees their legal rights, one of these rights is the right to receive the appropriate NLW. However, we are always here to help.”
Mr Michna said fear of losing their jobs means employees are often reluctant to complain, even though it would be unfair dismissal.
To contact Citizens Advice Hartlepool email: [email protected] or call into one of its drop-in sessions in Park Road between 9.30am and 3pm every Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.