Minimum wage: Government releases list of 70 employers that together owe more than £150,000

Business Minister Jo Swinson said to pay less than the minimum wage is "illegal, immoral and completely unacceptable"

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The Independent Online

The British government has published a list of the 70 employers that have failed to pay the National Minimum Wage.

As part of a strategy Business Minister Jo Swinson called "naming and shaming", the Department of Business revealed that these companies and organisations collectively owed workers a total of £157,000 — and have already been penalised to the tune of £70,000.

The government has now outed a total of 162 minimum wage offenders following its publication of 92 employers in October 2013.

Those companies had accrued arrears of £316,000 and penalties of £111,000.

East Midlands Crossroads, a care centre in Nottingham, owes its employees the greatest sum: £37,592.

A representative of the firm told the BBC it was "unaware" of its failure to pay employees.

The spokeswoman said: "The legislation is complex, in parts ambiguous, and open to interpretation."

Workers may not have been paid for travel time, but the company covered travel fees and also offered better rates for working on weekends, the company explained. Though care centres were singled out in the government statement, with six investigations into the sector's payment practices announced, nurseries, garages, and retailers were also prominent amongst the country's worst offenders.

Jo Swinson said "Paying less than the minimum wage is illegal, immoral and completely unacceptable.

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Naming and shaming gives a clear warning to employers who ignore the rules, that they will face reputational consequences as well as financial penalties up to £20,000 if they don't pay the minimum wage."

Care and Support Minister Norman Lamb said this information was "just the tip of the iceberg in the care sector" and said the government will "continue to name, shame and fine these employers until every care provider gets the message".

What is the National Minimum Wage?

Adult rate: £6.50 per hour

18 to 20 year olds: £5.13 per hour

16 to 17 year olds: £3.79 per hour

Apprentice rate: £2.73 per hour