Retailers Card Factory and Home Bargains are among the 239 employers named by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) for failure to pay employees the national minimum wage and the national living wage.
Sportswift, trading as Card Factory, topped the government’s list of organisations that have underpaid staff the minimum wage, as it failed to pay £430,097.87 to 10,256 employees. TJ Morris, trading as Home Bargains, ranked second on the list, for failing to pay £272,228.44 to 6,743 employees.
John Stanley’s Care Agency was placed third on the list for failing to pay 91 employees a total of £60,056.80, while Bristol City Football Club featured on the list for failing to pay 50 employees £14,342.73.
Other organisations included on this month’s list include cinema organisation Odeon and UCI Cinema Group, which failed to pay £4,438.92 to 237 employees, and Fosse Healthcare, ranked fourth on the list for failing to pay 185 employees £50,170.06.
The government’s naming and shaming scheme came in to effect in October 2013 and publicises the names of employers that have underpaid staff by paying them less than the national minimum wage and national living wage rates. These employers are issued with a notice of underpayment, unless employers meet one of the exception criteria or have arrears of £100 or less. Organisations that feature on the published list are required to back pay arrears of wages to affected employees, and can face financial penalties of up to 200% of arrears, capped at £20,000 per employee, or prosecution in the most serious cases.
Employers on today’s (6 July 2018) list have been fined £1.97 million in total, and around 22,400 UK employees are expected to receive back pay amounting to £1.44 million.
The top five reasons cited in relation to this month’s list are employers taking deductions from wages for costs such as uniforms, underpaying apprentices, failing to pay travel time, misusing the accommodation offset and using the wrong time periods for pay calculations.
Since the scheme’s introduction five years ago, £10.8 million has been paid in back pay to 90,000 employees and a total of 1,900 employers have been fined £8.4 million overall. Funding for minimum wage enforcement has more than doubled since 2015, with the government set to spend £26.3 million in 2018-2019.
The minimum wage non-compliance lists are operating in alignment with a government campaign to raise awareness of the national living wage and national minimum wage rates, which increased on 1 April 2018. The campaign website has had more than 600,000 visits since the campaign started on 1 April.
Andrew Griffiths, business minister, said: “Our priority is making sure [employees] know their rights and are getting the pay they worked hard for. Employers who don’t do the right thing face fines as well as being hit with the bill for backpay.
“The UK’s lowest-paid [employees] have had the fastest wage growth in 20 years thanks to the introduction of the national living wage and today’s list serves as a reminder to all employers to check they are getting their [employees’] pay right.”
Bryan Sanderson, chairman at the Low Pay Commission, added: “It is crucial that employers understand their responsibilities and [employees] know their rights around the minimum wage. That is why active enforcement and effective communication from the government is so important.
“It is therefore encouraging to see that [HM Revenue and Customs] has recovered unpaid wages for the largest number of [employees] yet in this round of naming and shaming. I’m confident that the government will continue to pursue underpayment of the minimum wage vigorously.”