A dozen South West companies are facing hefty fines for failing to pay their lowest-paid staff the minimum wage.
The 12 employers did not pay workers £82,000, breaching National Minimum Wage law, and leaving around 1,600 people from the region out of pocket.
Companies being named and shamed by the Department for Business include retailers, hospitality, residential care and childcare businesses. The investigations by HMRC took place between 2014 and 2019.
The businesses have since had to pay back what they owe to staff and are facing financial penalties of up to 200% of what was owed.
HMRC said employers previously underpaid workers in the following ways:
Deductions that reduce minimum wage pay such as workers out of pocket to comply with the dress code
Unpaid working time such as mandatory training, trial shifts or travel time
Failing to pay the correct rate to apprentices
Not increasing national minimum wage pay in line with government rises, or paying the wrong minimum wage rate, such as paying a 23-year-old the 21-to-22-year-old rate
Nationally, around 12,000 workers have been left out of pocket after employers failed to pay them. The businesses are now facing penalties of nearly £2m.
Labour markets minister Paul Scully 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.
“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.”
Since 2015, the budget for minimum wage enforcement has doubled with the government having ordered employers to repay over £100m to one million workers.
In October, chancellor Rishi Sunak announced in his Autumn Budget that around two million workers would get a pay rise next year when the National Living Wage is increased from £8.91 an hour to £9.50.
Bryan Sanderson, chair of the Low Pay Commission, added: “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.”
The South West companies that failed to pay minimum wage
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