The Government has published its latest list of employers who failed to pay National Minimum Wage and National Living Wage. About 230 employers are on the list, topped by Argos who underpaid 12,176 of their workers by a total of £1,461,881.78. Once again, the majority of businesses on the list are from the retail, hairdressing and hospitality industries; we asked ELAS employment law consultant Emma O’Leary to take a look:
“Each time the government publishes its name and shame list we are told that it is the largest list published, which tells us that companies still don’t understand the importance of ensuring their obligation to pay a minimum wage is met. Whether this is a deliberate attempt to save money thinking they won’t get caught or an innocent error, this is certainly something that needs to be addressed. The government has been very clear in their message when it comes to National Minimum Wage – no one is exempt from paying it and no one will escape.
“Some of the common errors employers on this list have made include deducting money from pay packets to pay for uniforms, failure to account for overtime hours, and wrongly paying apprentice rates to workers. Argos topping the list is not a surprise as Sainsbury’s, who bought the company last year, admitted in February that thousands of employees would be eligible for back pay as the hourly rates paid did not include morning briefings or security searches which happened after they had clocked out from their shifts. Chief executive John Rogers said the issue has now been resolved and they have updated their processes to ensure that this cannot happen again.
“As well as having to repay their employees, employers on the list have also been fined a record £1.9 million by the government. Now that tribunal fees have been abolished, employees who are owed a seemingly small amount of wages have nothing to lose by starting employment tribunal proceedings. We anticipate a sharp rise in the number of wages claims.”
The current National Minimum Wage is: