THE minimum wage has increased, but employers who are paying salaries rather than hourly rates could be unknowingly offering less than the minimum wage.

Paul Harris, CEO at staff specialist, REAL Success, said: “With the increase in minimum wage, farmers who are paying salaries and expecting people to work 50 to 60 hours a week are in serious danger of paying that person below the minimum wage.”

Paul continued: “For someone working a 55-hour week, which is common in the agricultural sector, the minimum wage for someone over 21 years old would be £32,718.40. But for someone working 37.5 hours a week, which is more of a standard week, the minimum wage would be £22,308.”

However, if accommodation is provided with the job, there could be an accommodation offset.

“This is £69.93 a week, which can be added to the salary if the person is not contributing to the accommodation,” Paul explains.

It is a criminal offence for employers not to pay the minimum wage or national living wage.

Paull added: “Farmers need to check now if their staff are being paid the right amount of money.”

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