Record 22,400 minimum wage workers to receive millions in backpay

The names of 239 employers found to have underpaid 22,400 UK workers by a total of £1.44m have been published today by the government.

  • Nearly 240 employers who underpaid the National Living and Minimum Wage named today
  • £1.44m in back pay has been identified for 22,400 workers, with the employers fined additional £1.97m
  • Employers underpaid workers by taking deductions from wages for uniforms, underpaying apprentices and failing to pay travel time

The names of 239 employers found to have underpaid 22,400 UK workers by a total of £1.44m have been published today by the government.

The back pay identified by HMRC was for more workers than in any previous single naming list and has generated record fines of £1.97m.

The earliest underpayment dated back to 2011, with the most recent happening this year (2018).

Business Minister Andrew Griffiths said:

Our priority is making sure workers know their rights and are getting the pay they worked hard for. Employers who don’t do the right thing face fines as well as being hit with the bill for backpay.

The UK’s lowest paid workers have had the fastest wage growth in 20 years thanks to the introduction of the National Living Wage and today’s list serves as a reminder to all employers to check they are getting their workers’ pay right.

The top 5 reasons for National Minimum and Living Wage underpayments in this round were:

  • taking deductions from wages for costs such as uniforms
  • underpaying apprentices
  • failing to pay travel time
  • misusing the accommodation offset
  • using the wrong time periods for calculating pay

Low Pay Commission Chairman Bryan Sanderson said:

It is crucial that employers understand their responsibilities and workers know their rights around the minimum wage. That is why active enforcement and effective communication from Government is so important.

It is therefore encouraging to see that HMRC has recovered unpaid wages for the largest number of workers yet in this round of naming and shaming. I’m confident that the Government will continue to pursue underpayment of the minimum wage vigorously.

Funding for minimum wage enforcement has more than doubled since 2015, with the government set to spend £26.3m in 2018/19.

The scheme is in its fifth year and calls out employers who have fallen foul of minimum wage laws, so far identifying £10.8m in back pay for around 90,000 workers, with more than 1,900 employers fined a total of £8.4m. HMRC has launched a series of webinars, available on GOV.UK, to help employers check that they are complying with the law.

The government is currently running a campaign to raise awareness of the National Living Wage and National Minimum Wage rates, which increased on 1 April 2018, as well as encouraging workers who have been underpaid to complain to HMRC. The campaign website has had more than 600,000 visits since the campaign kicked off on 1 April.

Employers who pay workers less than the minimum wage have to pay back arrears of wages to the worker at current minimum wage rates and face financial penalties of up to 200% of arrears, capped at £20,000 per worker.

For more information about your pay, or if you think you might be being underpaid, get advice and guidance at www.gov.uk/checkyourpay. Workers can also seek advice from workplace experts Acas.

To see the full list of employers who underpaid their staff, please see here


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