- Government names and shames 191 employers who have underpaid workers, including major household names
- named firms have been fined for owing £2.1 million to over 34,000 workers
- Business Minister Paul Scully: “Employers that short-change workers won’t get off lightly”
Thursday 5th August 2021 – 191 businesses are being named for breaking national minimum wage law. Following investigations by Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC), a total of £2.1 million was found to be owed to over 34,000 workers.
The breaches took place between 2011 and 2018. Named employers have since been made to pay back what they owed, and were fined an additional £3.2 million, showing
The UK government increased National Living Wage and National Minimum Wage rates in April 2021. The rise means someone working full time on the National Living Wage will be taking home £5,400 more annually than they were in 2010. Every single UK worker is entitled to the National Minimum Wage, no matter age or profession.
Whilst not all minimum wage underpayments are intentional, it has always been the responsibility of all employers to abide by the law. Guidance is available on gov.uk, which all employers should check.
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.
The employers named underpaid workers in the following ways:
- 47% wrongly deducted pay from workers’ wages, including for uniform and expenses
- 30% failed to pay workers for all the time they had worked, such as when they worked overtime
- 19% paid the incorrect apprenticeship rate
Business Minister Paul Scully said:
Our minimum wage laws are there to ensure a fair day’s work gets a fair day’s pay – it is unacceptable for any company to come up short.
All employers, including those on this list, need to pay workers properly.
This government will continue to protect workers’ rights vigilantly, and employers that short-change workers won’t get off lightly.
Employers who pay workers less than the minimum wage have to pay back arrears of wages at the current minimum wage rates. They also face financial penalties of up to 200% of arrears – capped at £20,000 per worker. Since 2015 the government has ordered employers to repay over £100 million to 1 million workers.
Many minimum wage breaches identified affected apprenticeships. The government has published new guidance to ensure employers know exactly what they need to do to pay their apprentices, and all workers, correctly.
While the vast majority of businesses follow the law and uphold workers’ rights, the publication of the list reminds employers that the government take action against those who fail to pay their employees the minimum wage.
As well as advice for employers, HMRC offers advice for all workers on how to ensure they are being paid correctly via the Check your pay website.
Chair of the Low Pay Commission Bryan Sanderson said:
These are very difficult times for all workers, particularly those on low pay who are often undertaking critical tasks in a variety of key sectors including care. The minimum wage provides a crucial level of support and compliance is essential for the benefit of both the recipients and our society as a whole.
Causes of underpayment
The HMRC outline the following as cases of minimum pay underpayments for the named 191 organisation:
- minimum wage law applies to all parts of the UK
- employers should always carry out the necessary checks: see the Calculating the Minimum Wage guidance
- for further information on paying the minimum wage and top tips to make sure you’re paying apprentices properly, see:
National Minimum Wage Naming Scheme Round 17, August 2021: educational bulletin
- the Naming Scheme was paused in 2018 so that an evaluation into its effectiveness could be carried out. On 11th February 2020 the government announced that the Naming Scheme would resume, and the last round took place on 31st December 2020. See more information on the last round
- the government undertook a review of the Naming Scheme last year to ascertain its effectiveness and ensure Naming was used in the most efficient way. The review was published on 11th February 2020
List of employers named in Round 17
The full list of employers named and shamed for failing to pay the National Minimum Wage:
National Minimum Wage Naming Scheme, Round 17: employers named for underpayment, August 2021 (MS Excel Spreadsheet, 66KB)