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191 employers named and shamed for breaching minimum wage

The Government has named and shamed 191 employers for paying under the minimum wage.

The names of nearly 200 UK businesses that pay their workers below the National Minimum Wage have been revealed. Among the 191 employers, the government has ‘named and shamed’ include high Street giants John Lewis and The Body Shop, sandwich shop franchise Pret A Manger, and Sheffield United Football Club.

An investigation by HMRC discovered that more than 34,000 workers were owed a combined total of £2.1 million from 2011 to 2018. The employers were made to reimburse their employees the missing wages at the current rate. They also had to pay a fine to the government of up to 200% of the arrears, capped at £20,000 per employee.

Minimum wage breaches

According to HMRC:

  • 19% of employers paid the wrong apprenticeship rate
  • 30% of employers failed to pay their workers for all the hours they’d worked
  • 47% of employers incorrectly deducted pay from employees’ wages, such as for expenses and uniform

Some minimum wage breaches may have occurred accidentally because the employees’ wages were equivalent to or just over the minimum wage rate. Consequently, once employers deducted accommodation or uniform from the employees’ pay, it dropped below the minimum wage. However, it is the responsibility of every employer to know and comply with the National Minimum Wage rules.

Employers named and shamed

You can view the complete list of the 191 underpaying employers on the government’s website. It features everything from childcare providers, hairdressers and holiday parks to restaurants, hotels and entertainment groups. Some of the employers officially named and shamed by HMRC include:

  • John Lewis plc: £941,355.67 to 19,392 workers
  • Martin McColl Retail Limited: £258,047.8 to 4,366 workers
  • One Stop Stores Limited: £56,505.04 to 2,631 workers
  • The Body Shop International Limited: £34,670.81 to 959 workers
  • Enterprise Rent-A-Car UK Limited: £25,438.82 to 65 workers
  • The Sheffield United Football Club Limited: £21,802.17 to 25 workers
  • Worcestershire County Cricket Trading Limited: £129,19.37 to two workers
  • Pret A Manger (Europe) Limited: £9,679.91 to 33 workers
  • Bloomsbury Publishing PLC: £4,055.96 to three workers

A large number of the National Minimum Wage breaches affected apprenticeships. In light of this, the government has since issued new guidance for employers to ensure they know what they must do to pay all workers, including apprentices correctly.

The National Minimum Wage rates

The National Minimum Wage guarantees the lowest-paid employees in the UK get a minimum standard of pay. It is a legal requirement for businesses of all sizes. How much an employee gets paid per hour is dependent on their age and if they are working as an apprentice.

National Minimum Wage rates from April 2021:

  • Aged 23 and over: £8.91 per hour
  • Aged 21-22: £8.36 per hour
  • Aged 18-20: £6.56 per hour
  • Aged 16-17: £4.62 per hour
  • Apprentices: £4.30 per hour

Employers who didn’t pay their workers the correct National Minimum Wage have had to repay one million employees more than £100 million since 2015.

The government is urging employees to visit the ‘check your pay’ website to ensure they are paid correctly. The site covers National Minimum Wage, National Living Wage, aged-based payments, and rates for apprenticeships.

It hopes that this public naming and shaming of underpaying employers will be a valuable reminder to employers and employees that HMRC will take action against anyone who fails to pay their workers the correct minimum wage.

Payroll support

If you need help to manage your Payroll and ensure your organisation is fully compliant with the National Minimum Wage payments, we can help. Find out more about our Payroll service, and contact us for a quote today.

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