Almost 200 businesses (191 companies) have been singled out for breaking laws linked to the National Minimum Wage.
The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has today named and shamed employers who have underpaid staff.
According to its findings, a total of £2.1 million was found to be owed to over 34,000 workers with the breaches taking place over a span of seven years (2011-2018).
The Government has acknowledged that while many of the breaches may not be intentional, employers have a clear duty to abide by the laws linked to Minimum Wage.
As such, employers which made the list were required to pay back what they owed. On top of this, the employers were also fined an additional £3.2 million – a step the Government hopes will act as a deterrent.
Employers who pay workers less than the minimum wage are expected to pay back arrears of wages to the worker at current minimum wage rates. They also face hefty financial penalties of up to 200 per cent of arrears – capped at £20,000 per worker.
Minimum wage breaches can occur when workers are being paid on or just above the minimum wage rate, and then have deductions from their pay for uniform or accommodation.
The data shows this was the case for almost half of businesses on the list (47 per cent) who wrongly deducted pay from workers’ wages, including for uniform and expenses.
Furthermore, three in 10 businesses (30 per cent) failed to pay workers for all the time they had worked, such as when they worked overtime.
Finally, around a fifth (19 per cent) paid the incorrect apprenticeship rate, with people undertaking apprenticeships being particularly vulnerable to receiving the incorrect pay.
Some of the employers making the list included household names such as John Lewis, the Body Shop and Pret A Manger.
Business Minister Paul Scully said:
Our minimum wage laws are there to ensure a fair day’s work gets a fair day’s pay – it is unacceptable for any company to come up short.
All employers, including those on this list, need to pay workers properly.
This government will continue to protect workers’ rights vigilantly, and employers that short-change workers won’t get off lightly.
Chair of the Low Pay Commission Bryan Sanderson said:
These are very difficult times for all workers, particularly those on low pay who are often undertaking critical tasks in a variety of key sectors including care. The minimum wage provides a crucial level of support and compliance is essential for the benefit of both the recipients and our society as a whole.