Last month I blogged on the increase to national minimum wage rates which came into force on 1 October. Recently, the BBC’s long-running investigative documentary Panorama covered the issue. Interestingly, the undercover programme ‘All Work and Low Pay’ revealed that for many workers, the minimum wage is not a reality.

Although most workers in the UK are entitled to receive the national minimum wage, the show highlighted that for some workers who are self-employed or undertaking internships, their hourly rate of pay is lower than the statutory minimum. In a few cases, the workers featured in the programme were not receiving any pay at all.

While the majority of workers in the UK are being remunerated at a fair rate which at least matches the statutory minimum, the documentary brought to light the reality that, in the current job climate, many workers are now prepared to settle for low rates of pay. The show in particular highlighted a willingness on the part of recent graduates to accept low paid or unpaid work simply in the hope of getting their foot on the career ladder. The situation has inevitably been compounded by the poor economic climate which in many cases has left employers with an increasingly tight budget to work within.

Details on who is entitled to receive the national minimum wage can be found on the Government’s website.