NEARLY 37,000 people in Scotland were paid less than the statutory minimum wage last year, while employers across the UK owe workers an average of £6,500 in unpaid arrears, according to data published by Citizens Advice Scotland (CAS) yesterday.
CAS chiefs say the figures are ‘unacceptable’.
The analysis suggests 36,876 workers were paid less than the minimum wage in Scotland last year.
CAS social justice spokeswoman Mhoraig Green said it was ‘just the tip of the iceberg’.
She added: ‘Many more in the informal economy won’t be identified in these numbers.
‘This should act as a wake-up call to our new government to ensure that 2020 is the year the minimum wage must become a legal reality.
‘The current minimum wage rates are not sufficient to enable many people to live above poverty levels, even when they are paid in full.’
Advice around employment is the third biggest issue for advice in the Citizens Advice network in Scotland.
Staff issued 43,000 pieces of work-related advice in 2018/19, with 12,000 pieces of advice on pay and entitlements.
Earlier this year, the charity ran an awareness campaign to boost young people’s knowledge about their rights at work.
It is backing a new body to have the powers to investigate national minimum wage breaches along with allowing workers to confidentially report matters involving maternity, holiday, sickness, pay, dismissal, redundancy and other rights.
Green said CAS regularly sees people who are paid illegally-low rates by employers or who have been refused holiday pay, which every worker is entitled to.
She added: ‘The figures we publish today are simply unacceptable. Employers need to understand that paying the statutory minimum wage rate for their workers is not optional. It is the law.’