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More than 200 companies – including several household names – have been named and shamed for failing to pay minimum wage to members of staff.

The 202 employers left around 63,000 workers out of pocket to the tune of almost £5 million in a breach of National Minimum Wage law.

Companies being named range from major high street brands, such as WH Smith, Argos and Marks and Spencer, to small businesses and sole traders, in a clear message from the Government that no employer is exempt from paying their workers the statutory minimum wage.

Minister for Enterprise, Markets and Small Business Kevin Hollinrake said: “Paying the legal minimum wage is non-negotiable and all businesses, whatever their size, should know better than to short-change hard-working staff.

“Most businesses do the right thing and look after their employees, but we’re sending a clear message to the minority who ignore the law: pay your staff properly or you’ll face the consequences.”

The businesses named in the list of 202 have since paid what they owe to their staff and have also faced financial penalties. The investigations by His Majesty’s Revenue and Customs concluded between 2017 and 2019.

The employers named underpaid workers in the following ways:

  • 39 per cent of employers deducted pay from workers’ wages.
  • 39 per cent of employers failed to pay workers correctly for their working time.
  • 21 per cent of employers paid the incorrect apprenticeship rate.

Guidance for employers on pay is available on GOV.UK, and the Government has published additional advice about breaches and the steps employers should take to make sure they pay their workers correctly.

Bryan Sanderson Chair of the Low Pay Commission said: “The minimum wage acts as a guarantee to ensure all workers without exception receive a decent minimum standard of pay. Where employers break the law, they not only do a disservice to their staff but also undermine fair competition between businesses.

“Regular naming rounds should be a useful tool in raising awareness of underpayment and helping to protect minimum wage workers.”

The Government has been clear that anyone entitled to be paid the minimum wage should receive it, and that robust enforcement action will be taken against employers who do not pay their staff correctly.

 

Since 2015, the budget for minimum wage enforcement has doubled with the Government having ordered employers to repay over £100 million to one million workers.

The Government is determined to ensure workers are paid for their hard work, having increased the National Living Wage by a record amount in April 2023. This led to the lowest paid workers in the UK seeing a rise of 9.7 per cent, keeping the Government on track to achieve its manifesto commitment for the National Living Wage to equal two-thirds of median earnings by 2024, provided economic conditions allow.

Do you need guidance on what to pay staff? We can help.

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