An estate agent is protesting about the practice whereby he alleges that employees who do not hit their sales targets have their basic pay topped up to meet minimum wage levels – but then have to repay that money.
David, a midlands agent, says that the practice does not affect him personally. He has asked us not to make his identification clearer.
However, he said it is something he feels very strongly about.
He said he has a friend who works as a negotiator for a corporate.
Each time this agent does not hit his target, his employer tops up the basic so that it complies with minimum wage requirements.
However, when the negotiator does hit his targets, he has to repay the previous top-up money.
Negotiators might receive several months of top-up pay, but will have to repay this in circumstances including when they eventually reach target, or leave the firm.
David says that in effect, negotiators at such employers are having to subsidise their own minimum pay.
He claims that corporate firms – which tend to pay lower basics and higher commissions – are more likely to use the practice than independents, which tend to pay higher basics and lower commissions.
David said the practice is not confined to estate agency, but is also prevalent in the car sales and recruitment sectors.
He has launched a petition on the government website asking that the practice whereby commissions and bonuses are used to make up minimum wage be stopped.
The petition says: “The national minimum wage is put there to allow people to have what is perceived to be a minimum amount required to live yet companies use performance related bonuses to achieve this figure. They should be separate and minimum basic salary be one thing with performance related bonuses another.”