The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) have identified a record-breaking £1.7 million in back pay for 16,000 workers and have fined employers £1.3 million for the underpayment.
Retail, hairdressing and hospitality businesses were the biggest offenders with errors made including failing to pay workers travelling between jobs, deducting money from pay for uniforms and not paying for overtime.
Business minister Margot James said: “There is no excuse for not paying staff the wages they’re entitled to and the government will come down hard on businesses that break the rules … 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.”
High-profile names on the list include Primark, who had to pay back £231,973.12 mainly due to charging staff for uniforms, and Sports Direct (and two staff agencies it used), who had to repay £1.1 million to their workers.
Chairman of the Low Pay Commission, Bryan Sanderson, commented: “The Low Pay Commission’s conversations with employers suggest that the risk of being named is encouraging businesses to focus on compliance … Further, 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. It is imperative that the government keeps up the pressure on all employers who commit breaches of minimum wage law.”
Workers are encouraged to seek advice from the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) if they are concerned they are not being paid the correct rates.