More than 200 firms named for breaching minimum wage rules

Staff were not paid around £1.2 million that they were owed, the Government said.

August Graham
Wednesday 08 December 2021 22:30
More than a third of businesses took money off wages for things like uniforms (Gareth Fuller/PA)
More than a third of businesses took money off wages for things like uniforms (Gareth Fuller/PA)

House of Fraser, Schuh and Waterstones are among more than 200 employers across the UK who broke minimum wage laws when paying staff, according to the Government

The businesses were named as among the 208 firms that failed to pay around £1.2 million to their workers, breaking national minimum wage laws.

It left about 12,000 workers out of pocket, the Government said.

“We want workers to know that we’re on their side and they must be treated fairly by their employers, which is why paying the legal minimum wage should be non-negotiable for businesses,” said Minister for Labour Markets Paul Scully.

“Today’s 208 businesses, whatever their size, should know better than to short-change hard-working employees, regardless of whether it was intentional or not.

“With Christmas fast approaching, it’s more important than ever that cash is not withheld from the pockets of workers. So don’t be a scrooge – pay your staff properly.”

There’s no excuse for not paying the minimum wage. Firms who cheat staff out of their hard-earned money deserve to be named and shamed

TUC general secretary Frances O'Grady

The most common problem among the named companies was that they deducted money from staff’s wages to pay for expenses such as work uniforms. About 37% of businesses fell into this trap.

Meanwhile, 29% did not pay for mandatory training, trial shifts or travel time, 16% did not pay enough to apprentices, and 11% did not increase what they paid staff when the minimum wage was hiked, or paid younger workers at the wrong rate.

House of Fraser failed to pay over £16,000 to 354 workers, Schuh failed to pay £807 to 39 staff and Waterstones failed to pay nearly £8,700 to 58 staff.

The current House of Fraser owner, Frasers Group, said that the claims come from before it bought House of Fraser in 2018.

It said: “In short, these breaches are historic and relate to the activities of the old House of Fraser company that is now in administration and is nothing at all to do with any activities of the new House of Fraser business that is owned by Frasers Group.”

Other high-profile offenders include outsourcing giant Mitie and sandwich-maker Greencore.

Greencore said: “Greencore can confirm that it inadvertently made underpayments to some of its employees in the past due to errors in applying administration fees and in calculating salary sacrifice deductions.

“Upon identification of the issue, the group refunded all affected employees their arrears of pay, as confirmed by HMRC.”

The other named businesses have been contacted for comment.

Low Pay Commission chair Bryan Sanderson said: “The minimum wage is a success story welcomed by employees and employers alike, but it only works if everyone without exception obeys the law.

“We hope this latest naming round can continue to raise awareness of the most common mistakes businesses make and help protect low-paid workers from unfair treatment.”

Trades Union Congress general secretary Frances O’Grady said: “Every worker deserves fair pay for their work.

“There’s no excuse for not paying the minimum wage. Firms who cheat staff out of their hard-earned money deserve to be named and shamed.

“We also need to see prosecutions and higher fines for the most serious offenders, especially those who deliberately flout the law. Minimum wage underpayment is still far too common in Britain.”

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in