Employers named and shamed for underpaying workers

Minimum wage workers will receive up to £1.7m in back pay, as a result of a government investigation that found 260 employers were underpaying staff.

Major household names such as Sports Direct and Primark have been called out for failing to pay the minimum wage. The retailers are among 260 employers, which the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has  fined for failing to pay 16,000 workers at least minimum wage rates. Government investigators have identified £1.7 million in back pay for some of the UK’s lowest paid workers and fined employers £1.3 million for underpayment.

Bryan Sanderson, Chairman of the Low Pay Commission, says: “The Low Pay Commission’s conversations with employers suggest that the risk of being named is encouraging businesses to focus on compliance.

“It is good to see that HMRC continues to target large employers who have underpaid a large number of workers, as well as cases involving only a few workers, where workers are at risk of the most serious exploitation.”

This is the 13th round of government naming and shaming for employers who have failed to pay National Minimum Wage and Living Wage rates. Retail, hospitality and hairdressing were the most prolific sectors named this time, with 58 hospitality businesses for 288 workers; 40 are hairdressing businesses for 118 workers and 34 retailers for 11,072 workers.

Business Minister Margot James says: “There is no excuse for not paying staff the wages they’re entitled to. That’s why we are naming hundreds of employers who have been short changing their workers; and to ensure there are consequences for their wallets as well as their reputation, we’ve levied millions in back pay and fines.”

The most common reasons for the mistakes, include: failing to pay workers travelling between jobs, deducting money from pay for uniforms and not paying for overtime.