U.K. prime minister promises tough fines for not paying minimum wage

Fines for non-payment could reach 200 per cent of unpaid wages

LONDON (Reuters) — British Prime Minister David Cameron said on Tuesday he would introduce tough fines for company bosses who fail to pay the so called 'national living wage' which will hit nine pounds ($18.15 CAD) an hour by the end of the decade.

The current minimum wage for those aged 21 and over is 6.50 pounds an hour ($13.11 CAD) and will rise to 6.70 pounds in October. Osborne said that from April 2016 employers will have to pay a 'national living wage' of at least 7.20 pounds to over-25s.

"The national living wage will only work if it is properly enforced," Cameron said in an article for The Times newspaper that was published on Tuesday.

"Businesses are responsible for making that happen, and today I’m announcing how we will make sure they do."

Fines for non-payment will double, opening up employers to a penalty of 200 per cent of unpaid wages up to a maximum of 20,000 pounds, the Times said.

Bosses who fail to pay face disqualification as company directors for up to 15 years, the newspaper said.

"To unscrupulous employers who think they can get labour on the cheap, the message is clear: underpay your staff, and you will pay the price," Cameron said.

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