Blog: If the government wants to tackle low pay, glossy adverts aren’t the answer

The current government likes to talk up its action on pay – especially low pay – when the reality is its record is shameful. Recently research has proven, once again, that real wages have fallen since the financial crisis. And whilst George Osborne’s fake living wage wheeze might con some, those still struggling by on a salary they can’t live on know they’re being swindled.

Today the government has started spending money on glossy adverts to remind people about the minimum wage. Rather than spend money on expensive PR campaigns, the government should be forcing cheating employers to make it clear to employees how their pay is calculated. It’s too easy for unscrupulous bosses to mask wage theft through complicated and opaque pay slips.

The minimum wage was introduced nearly two decades ago but still there are employers who think they’re above the law.

It’s also not right to put the onus on employees. Many will be nervous about querying their pay for fear of having their hours reduced or worse still getting the sack. Ministers must stop letting bad bosses off the hook.

And if the government wants to spend money on tackling low pay, there are better alternatives – like real legal enforcement of the minimum wage to penalise unscrupulous employers and introducing a living wage low-paid workers can actually live on, a legal minimum wage worthy of the name.