Record number of employers underpaying workers

High street retail chain Debenhams tops the list of more than 350 employers found to have failed to pay either the national minimum wage (NMW) or the national living wage (NLW) to their staff, the biggest number so far.

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has named and shamed 360 businesses who underpaid 15,520 workers a total of £995,233, with employers in the hairdressing, hospitality and retail sectors the most prolific offenders.

As well as recovering arrears, HMRC issued penalties worth around £800,000. For the first time, the list includes employers who failed to pay eligible workers at least the new NLW, currently £7.20 for workers aged 25 and over.

Debenhams Retail was found to have failed to pay £134,894 to 11,858 workers. The next biggest amount owing was £55,056 to 154 workers at Pembrokeshire Care Ltd, while Osteria San Lorenzo in London failed to pay £53,496 to 29 restaurant workers.

Excuses for underpaying workers included using tips to top up pay, docking workers’ wages to pay for their Christmas party and making staff pay for their own uniforms out of their salary.

Business minister Margot James said: ‘Every worker in the UK is entitled to at least the national minimum or living wage and this government will ensure they get it.

‘That is why we have named and shamed more than 350 employers who failed to pay the legal minimum, sending the clear message to employers that minimum wage abuses will not go unpunished.’

Pat Sweet |Reporter, Accountancy Daily [2010-2021]

Pat Sweet was the former online reporter at Accountancy Daily and contributor to the monthly Accountancy magazine, pub...

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