Employers Shamed for Paying Less Than Minimum Wage

Law & Regulation
  • Smaller Small Medium Big Bigger
  • Default Helvetica Segoe Georgia Times

Of 191 named and shamed companies paying less than minimum wage, just one was in the dental sector

In a press release issued yesterday (5th August) by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, Low Pay Commission, and Paul Scully MP, 191 businesses were named for breaking national minimum wage law.

Following investigations by Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs, a total of £2.1 million was found to be owed to over 34,000 workers. The only dental business listed was The Dental Workshop Limited, Leeds, LS11, which failed to pay £4190.65 to one worker

A government spokesperson explained: "The breaches took place between 2011 and 2018. Named employers have since been made to pay back what they owed, and were fined an additional £3.2 million, showing it is never acceptable to underpay workers.

"The UK government effectively gave millions a pay rise by increasing National Living Wage and National Minimum Wage rates in April 2021. The rise means someone working full time on the National Living Wage will be taking home £5,400 more annual income than they were in 2010. Every single UK worker is entitled to the National Minimum Wage, no matter their age or profession.

“While not all minimum wage underpayments are intentional, it has always been the responsibility of all employers to abide by the law. Clear guidance is available on www.gov.uk, which all employers should check.

“Minimum wage breaches can occur when workers are being paid on or just above the minimum wage rate, and then have deductions from their pay for uniform or accommodation.”

The employers named and shamed had previously underpaid workers in the following ways:

  • 47% wrongly deducted pay from workers’ wages, including for uniform and expenses
  • 30% failed to pay workers for all the time they had worked, such as when they worked overtime
  • 19% paid the incorrect apprenticeship rate

Business Minister Paul Scully said: “Our minimum wage laws are there to ensure a fair day’s work gets a fair day’s pay – it is unacceptable for any company to come up short. All employers, including those on this list, need to pay workers properly.

“This government will continue to protect workers’ rights vigilantly, and employers that short-change workers won’t get off lightly. Employers who pay workers less than the minimum wage have to pay back arrears of wages to the worker at current minimum wage rates.

“They also face hefty financial penalties of up to 200% of arrears – capped at £20,000 per worker – which are paid to the government. Since 2015 the government has ordered employers to repay over £100 million to one million workers.

“A significant number of the minimum wage breaches identified have affected those on apprenticeships. The government has now published new guidance to ensure employers know exactly what they need to do to pay their apprentices, and all workers, correctly.

“The government is committed to protecting workers’ rights and while the vast majority of businesses follow the law and uphold workers’ rights, the publication of this list serves as a reminder to employers that the government will take action against those who fail to pay their employees the minimum wage.”

As well as advice for employers, HMRC offers advice for all workers on how to ensure they are being paid correctly via the Check your pay website, go to https://checkyourpay.campaign.gov.uk/

Chair of the Low Pay Commission Bryan Sanderson said: “These are very difficult times for all workers, particularly those on low pay who are often undertaking critical tasks in a variety of key sectors including care. The minimum wage provides a crucial level of support and compliance is essential for the benefit of both the recipients and our society as a whole.”

• The minimum wage law applies to all parts of the UK. Employers should always carry out the necessary checks. More information can be found by visiting https://www.gov.uk/guidance/calculating-the-minimum-wage

• For more information about paying the minimum wage and top tips to make sure you’re paying apprentices properly, click HERE.

• The Naming Scheme was paused in 2018 so that an evaluation into its effectiveness could be carried out. On 11 February 2020 the government announced that the Naming Scheme would resume, and the last round took place on 31 December 2020. For more information about the last round, click HERE.

• The government undertook a review of the Naming Scheme last year to ascertain its effectiveness and ensure Naming was used in the most efficient way. The review was published on 11 February 2020. Click HERE.

To see the full list, visit https://www.gov.uk/government/news/employers-named-and-shamed-for-paying-less-than-minimum-wage