Details of increases to the minimum wage effective as of 1 October 2006 are set out below.

HMRC (HM Revenue & Customs) has recently published a top ten of some of the more unusual reasons given by employers to its enforcement team for failing to pay the national minimum wage. We thought you would like to know.

The top ten excuses for not paying the minimum wage are:

10. I only took him on as a favour

9. The workers can't speak English

8. He's over 65, so the national minimum wage doesn't apply

7. She's on benefits - if you add those to her pay, it totals the national minimum wage

6. They can't cope on their own and it's more than they would get in their own country

5. He's disabled

4. I didn't think it applied to small employers

3. I didn't think the workers were worth the national minimum wage

2. But she only wanted £3 per hour

1. He doesn't deserve it - he's a total waste of space

The main rate for workers aged 22 and over is set to increase on 1 October 2006 to £5.35. The rate for 18-21 year olds will increase to £4.45 and for 16-17 year olds, £3.30. However, time will tell if these rates will need to be harmonised following the implementation of the Age Discrimination regulations.

HMRC operates a network of 16 wage enforcement teams around the UK, which respond to complaints about non-payment, help educate employers and employees and take enforcement action against those who fail to pay employees the national minimum wage. In the last year enforcement teams have identified nearly £3.3 million in underpaid salaries across the UK.