Fine warning for underpaying employers

Employers could face a fine of £200 for failing to pay the national minimum wage, the government has announced.

The fine would apply to each worker affected and those failing to pay also risk a criminal prosecution as part of the new crackdown.

The adult minimum wage increased to £5.35 per hour last October, but last year more than 1,500 employers were exposed for not paying the minimum wage to more than 25,000 workers.

Alistair Darling, trade and industry secretary, hopes the penalty will be seen as an extra incentive to encourage employers to stay within the law.