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Businesses can now check quickly and easily that they are compliant with national minimum wage legislation coming into force in April. The launch of a National Minimum Wage Calculator on the Business Link website,www.businesslink.gov.uk/nmwcalculator helps employers ensure that they are paying their workers the wage that they are entitled to. The site also includes guidance on what businesses need to do to prepare for the new legislation.

Michaela Fitzgerald from businesslink.gov.uk says: “One of our priorities at Business Link is to make complying with legislation simple for business. The National Minimum Wage Calculator enables employers to work out how much they need to pay their staff for the hours that they work and provides them with an authoritative, trust-worthy source of help. It benefits both staff and employers as it ensures that workers receive the correct amount while employers do not risk incurring financial penalties for getting the calculation wrong.”

From April 2009 employers who do not comply with the National Minimum Wage rules will be issued with an automatic penalty of up to £5,000. A new way of calculating arrears for workers who have been underpaid will also be introduced. This makes employers liable to pay arrears to their workers at the current minimum wage rate, even if that is higher than the rate at the time of the underpayment. The National Minimum Wage calculator also helps employers to determine the amount of the arrears owed to an employee, enabling businesses to pay due amounts fairly and on time.

Employment Relations Minister Pat McFadden says: “The minimum wage calculator is the latest free tool available from Business Link that will save time and money for employers. It tells firms quickly and simply whether their workers have been paid, what they are entitled to or how much they are owed if not. All employers should be aware of new penalties for breaking minimum wage law that come into force in April. The vast majority of employers want to do the right thing by their staff and this calculator will help prevent them from inadvertently breaching the rules.”

The National Minimum Wage Calculator is part of a wider package of tools and guidance launched by Business Link. For example, the tool “Taking on a new employee” - www.businesslink.gov.uk/newemployee has recently been created to make it easier for businesses to comply with the latest employment laws, giving advice on, for example:

• Registering as an employer with HM Revenue & Customs
• Paying your employee for the first time
• Setting up a pension scheme
• Making health and safety arrangements

Ends

The Taking on a New Employee tool on the Business Link website - businesslink.gov.uk/newemployee provides further advice on the legal obligations when taking on a new employee.

For more details on the National Minimum Wage Calculator -businesslink.gov.uk or call the HM Revenue & Customs National Minimum Wage Helpline on 0845 6000 678.

About Business Link:

• Business Link is the information, advice and support service for all businesses, funded by the Government.
• Business Link provides the information, advice and support needed to start, maintain and grow a business.
• Business Link can be accessed online at businesslink.gov.uk or by calling the National Help Line on 0845 600 9 006

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