More than 350 businesses have been named and shamed for not paying their staff the national minimum rates. 

This is the largest number of companies that has been recorded on the list since the naming and shaming approach was introduced by the government in 2013.

Over 15,500 workers needed to receive back pay and nearly £1 million was owed.

Who are these employers?

Some well-known businesses makes the list including Debenhams, Subway, Lloyds Pharmacy and St Mirren Football club. Employers from the retail, hospitality, care and hairdressing sectors are the key offenders.

Debenhams topped the list. The retail giant has had to repay nearly £135,000 after a “technical error in its payroll calculations” meant that they owed 11,800 workers approximately £11 in wages each.

Another big offender was Pembrokeshire Care Limited, which failed to pay more than £55,000 to 154 workers.

Excuses

Employers provided a number of excuses for not paying the national minimum rates, including making cuts to pay for the Christmas work do, making staff pay for their uniform or using tips to top up pay.

Only last month, HMRC investigators heard more bizarre reasons for not paying the national minimum rate. Most memorably, one employer said that the worker did not deserve to be paid minimum wage rate as all she did was make tea and sweep the floor! Other reasons included ‘it is ok to underpay foreign workers’ or blaming the accountant for the fact that staff are unpaid.

Fine

Not paying the National Minimum Wage or National Living Wage means you are violating the law and as such, the HMRC can fine you. In total, the businesses on the list were fined £800,000.

Debenhams alone faced a fine of £63,000.

Government response

Business Minister, Margot James, said “Every worker in the UK is entitled to at least the national minimum or living wage and this government will ensure they get it. That is why we have named and shamed more than 350 employers who failed to pay the legal minimum, sending the clear message to employers that minimum wage abuses will not go unpunished.”

Time and time again, employers are getting it wrong. If you have doubts as to your national minimum wage obligations, give our Employment Law Advisers a call to get bespoke and comprehensive advice. They can give you all the support and guidance you need to make sure you understand what is required to stay on the right side of the law. 

 

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