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Avoid National Minimum Wage Risks with Biometrics

The uniqueness of the hospitality sector brings unique challenges to a variety of compliance issues, including the National Minimum Wage. In this post, Billy Waters looks at what constitutes working time, and how you can make sure you get accurate records of exactly when employees started and finished work.

When do you start paying an employee? When their shift starts? Not necessarily. If someone needs to be on-site before or after a shift – to put on their chef’s whites or have a debrief – this will be regarded as working time the employee should be paid for, and so you need to consider what risk this brings in terms of national minimum wage (NMW).

To make sure employees are paid appropriately, you need complete, accurate records of exactly when employees started and finished work.

Using a biometric staffing solution, you can manage this easily. Fourth’s system records exactly when each employee arrives, leaves and goes on breaks, so it’s easy to compare actual time to their scheduled shift.

You can set limits on acceptable pre- and post-shift time and rota time is easily adjusted to reflect the actual clock-in time. Your records are precise and you pay staff for the time they are actually working.

There’s another important thing to bear in mind though. This shouldn’t be limited to hourly/weekly paid staff, and your full-time employees should also be clocking in and out. Otherwise, if you have a full-time employee who’s paid £20k and works a couple of particularly long weeks, you may find their hourly rate for the pay registration period (i.e. one month) takes them below the NMW.

This is one of a few challenges we’ve outlined in the National Living Wage guide we created with employment law firm GQ|Littler.

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