TV-chef Michel Roux Jr condemned for failing to pay living wage

An investigation by the Guardian found the celebrity chef was paying some staff just £5.50 per hour

Celebrity chef Michel Roux Jr has admitted to paying some of his restaurant staff less than the national living wage, according to an investigation by the Guardian.

In a statement published by the management team at Michel Roux Jr’s Mayfair restaurant, Le Gavroche, it was confirmed that some employees at the restaurant were being paid just £5.50 per hour; almost £2 under the national living wage of £7.20 for over 25s.

Michel Roux Jr was a judge on BBC’s Masterchef: The Professionals before he left the show in 2014. Patrons dining at his exclusive Michelin-starred restaurant can expect to pay up to £65 for some starter courses, while a tasting meal will cost over £210.

Celebrity chef admits to paying less than the national living wage

La Gavroche is situated in the upmarket area of Mayfair, London. © Copyright David Hallam-Jones

Some La Gavroche employees said they were receiving as little as £375 per week, despite working 68 hours. Speaking to the Guardian, one La Gavroche staff member said: “It is clear exploitation and inexcusable.”

The president of the Sustainable Restaurant Association (SRA), Raymond Blanc, a fellow TV-chef, said the findings of the Guardian investigation were like “a massive own goal” for the restaurant industry and that paying staff less than the national living wage is “simply not acceptable”.

Since the investigation went public, La Gavroche has said it will be increasing all wages in line with the national living wage and the national minimum wage “with immediate effect”.

The current national living/minimum wage rates in the UK are:

  • Living Wage: Ages 25 and over: £7.20
  • Minimum wage: 21 to 24: £6.95
  • Minimum wage: 18 to 20: £5.55
  • Minimum wage : Under 18: £4.00

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April 2016 employment law changes: what you need to know

New employment law legislation comes into effect in April 2016

The month of April is always important for UK employment law, when new legislations are introduced and employer responsibilities develop and change. April 2016 is no different, with the spotlight shining brightly upon the introduction of the new national living wage.

However, there are other key changes being introduced of which employers need to be aware. Therefore, this week, will be detailing four of the new developments which are to come into effect in April 2016 (followed by four more next week).

1) As mentioned above, from 1 April 2016 the new national living wage will come into effect throughout the UK. The national living wage is a higher tier of the national minimum wage. Under the new law, workers aged 25+ must be paid at least £7.20 (a 50p increase on the national minimum wage of £6.70).

The government advises employers to carry out the following four point check-list:

  • Check you know who is eligible in your organisation.
  • Take the appropriate payroll action.
  • Let your staff know about their new pay rate.
  • Check your staff under 25 are earning the correct rate of national minimum wage
New employment law to be introduced in April 2016 new State Pension

2) Employers found not paying the national living wage or the national minimum wage, will be fined double more than in previous years, as the penalty increases from 1 April 2016.

3) From 6 April 2016, employers will no longer be required to pay national insurance contributions for apprentices under the age of 25. This is designed to encourage the creation of apprenticeships.

4) A new State Pension is to be introduced from 6 April 2016 with a few consequences, of which employers and employees should be made aware. The new State Pension replaces the Basic State Pension and the Additional State Pension.

‘Contracting out’ of the Additional State Pension scheme to workplace, personal or stakeholder pensions will no longer be valid and employees who have been doing this will notice they are paying more national insurance than they are used to. Employers have a duty to discuss this issue with their workers.

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