Wage law hits pizza chain

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The Independent Online
PIZZA EXPRESS has been forced to pay pounds 750,000 back pay to its staff for breaking the national minimum wage law.

It is thought to be the first big pay-out since the pounds 3.60 an hour floor was introduced on 1 April.

The restaurant chain infringed the law by counting cash tips as part of workers' wages. Only non-cash gratuities can be included in the calculation.

Ian McCartney, the Trade minister, said there would be "no hiding place" for companies that break the minimum wage law.

There are a number of cases involving household names which could lead to "enforcement" proceedings, he said. The Inland Revenue's "help-line" had received nearly 2,000 complaints, of which some 762 had been resolved. Hundreds of companies have also called to shop low-paying competitors.