Female migrant workers are the most likely group to be paid less than the national minimum wage (NMW), according to new research.
The study, commissioned by the TUC’s (Trades Union Congress) Commission on Vulnerable Employment, revealed that 35,000 women are denied the NMW, which currently stands at £5.52 payable to workers over 22 years. Overall women are one and a half times more likely than male migrant workers to be paid less than the NMW.
TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said: “The rogue employers who underpay the NMW deserve zero tolerance. The NMW is making a real difference to the lives of many low paid migrant workers, and we must continue to crack down on those mean bosses not paying their staff the legal wage to which they are entitled.”
Tom Hadley, director of external relations at the Recruitment and Employment Confederation, said all workers, irrespective of where they come from, are entitled to the minimum wage: “Agencies who supply workers at under the legal minimum are harming both the employee and other reputable agencies, who support and work within the industry standards. Breaking the law is not acceptable. Bad practice must be reported and the government has a duty to ensure that the law is followed.”
The report also found that recent migrants work longer hours per week than most other workers – 55% work 31-48 hours per week, and 15.4% work more than 48 hours per week, compared to 48.3% and 13% of workers generally.
Last week, HRZone.co.uk reported that there will be no new laws to protect vulnerable workers.