Over 200 businesses found to be underpaying workers

A number of high profile businesses have recently been “named and shamed” by the Government for not paying workers the minimum wage. Following investigations by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), a total of £2.1 million was found to be owed to over 34,000 workers.

Named employers have since been made to pay back what they owed, and were fined an additional £3.2 million, showing, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) said, that it is never acceptable to underpay workers.

Whilst not all minimum wage underpayments are intentional, BEIS acknowledged, it is the responsibility of all employers to abide by the law. Guidance is available at www.gov.uk/guidance/calculating-the-minimum-wage.

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.

In the latest list, 47% incorrectly deducted pay from workers’ wages in this way; 30% failed to pay workers for all the time they had worked, such as when they worked overtime; and 19% paid the incorrect apprenticeship rate.

Those who pay workers less than the minimum wage must pay back arrears to the worker at current minimum wage rates. They also face financial penalties of up to 200% of the arrears — capped at £20,000 per worker — which are paid to the Government.

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