Companies that have not paid their workers the national minimum wage have been 'named and shamed' in a publication issued by the government last week. The list, which is the largest of its kind to date, named a total of 197 employers ranging from local newsagents to football clubs, each owing arrears of at least £100. The collective total owed was £465,291. All the money owed to the workers has now been paid to them.
The UK wide scheme of naming national minimum wage offenders was introduced back in October 2013 to promote fairness. It seeks to reinforce the government's commitment "to build an economy that works for everyone, not just the privileged few", as stated by Business Minister Margot James. The naming scheme applies to any employer issued with a notice of underpayment by HMRC. Since the scheme was introduced 687 employers have been identified as owing arrears of £3.5 million.
Legally, employers are under a duty to be aware of the different minimum wage rates for each of their workers and to ensure that all eligible workers are paid at least the minimum they are entitled to. Employers who pay workers less than the minimum wage not only have to pay back arrears of wages at current minimum wage rates but also face financial penalties of up to £20,000 per worker.
For a reminder of the current rates, and the rates that will apply from October, read our earlier blog.
The new national living wage will be enforced alongside the national minimum wage. The government has recently confirmed that it will proceed with its living wage policy, despite being asked to reconsider it in light of the expected impact of Brexit.