On 31 December, the government published their latest “name and shame” list of businesses that failed to pay their workers the minimum wage. Investigated between 2016 and 2018, the 139 named companies failed to pay £6.7 million to over 95,000 workers in total, in a breach of employment law.
This is the first time the government has named and shamed companies for failing to pay National Minimum Wage since 2018, following reforms to the process to ensure only the worst offenders are targeted.
Publishing the list is intended to serve as a warning to rogue employers that the government will take action against those who fail to pay their employees properly.
The most common cause of NMW breach was in relation to deducting pay from workers’ wages for the cost of items such as food/meals, work equipment, PPE, stock or till shortage, training costs, savings schemes, uniforms, childcare, and salary sacrifice schemes. It is easy to see how some instances can be genuine errors made by the employer, for example if a worker voluntarily purchases something which is then paid by a deduction of their pay, or if workers voluntarily enter into a salary sacrifice or Christmas savings scheme which takes them below the minimum wage. Nevertheless, it is the employers responsibility to ensure that all of their workers receive at least national minimum wage.
Employers who pay workers less than the minimum wage have to pay back arrears of wages to the worker at current minimum wage rates. They also face hefty financial penalties of up to 200% of arrears – capped at £10,000 per worker – which are paid to the government. Each of the companies named have paid back their workers, and were forced to pay financial penalties.
The named and shamed employers include well known firms such as Tesco’s, Pizza Hut, Superdrug, and Muller UK, as well as smaller businesses. You can read the full list here