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HMRC is urging seasonal workers and students working during the festive period to make sure they’re not being paid under minimum wage.

This is after data has revealed that in 2022-23, HMRC identified wage arrears of £13.7 million due to more than 108,000 underpaid UK workers.

Those on short-term contracts over Christmas are legally entitled to the same minimum rates as other workers, and so HMRC is reminding them to check their hourly rate of pay – in particular, looking out for any unpaid working time, such as time spent opening and closing a shop, training, picking up extra shifts and working longer hours.

Deductions, for things like uniforms or tools, can also reduce pay rates.

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Marc Gill, Director of Individuals and Small Business Compliance, HMRC, explained, “We want to make sure that all workers, including seasonal staff and students, are being paid what they are due this festive period, which is why we are reminding everyone to check their pay.

“People should check their hourly rate and look out for any deductions or unpaid working time. It could take them below the minimum wage.

“HMRC looks into every minimum wage complaint, so if you think you are being short-changed you should get in touch. Don’t lose out – report it.”

For reference, the National Minimum Wage hourly rates are currently:

  • £10.42 – age 23 and over (National Living Wage)
  • £10.18 – age 21 to 22
  • £7.49 – age 18 to 20
  • £5.28 – age under 18
  • £5.28 – apprentice

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