The UK government fined 239 companies last year for paying their staff less than the minimum wage.
22,400 workers had been identified as having been underpaid a total of £1.44m. The companies were fined a total of £1.97m. The most common reasons for underpayment were: not taking into account deductions for uniforms, underpaying apprentices and failure to pay travel time.
Business Minister Andrew Griffiths said: “Our priority is making sure workers 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.”
Low Pay Commission Chairman Bryan Sanderson said: “It is crucial that employers understand their responsibilities and workers know their rights around the minimum wage. That is why active enforcement and effective communication from Government is so important.”
Employers who pay workers less than the minimum wage have to pay back arrears of wages to the worker at current minimum wage rates and face financial penalties of up to 200% of arrears, capped at £20,000 per worker.
The government is currently running a campaign to raise awareness of the National Living Wage and National Minimum Wage rates, which increased on 1 April 2018, as well as encouraging workers who have been underpaid to complain to HMRC. The campaign website has had more than 600,000 visits since the campaign kicked off on 1 April.
Looking down the list it is striking that it is made up of predominantly small companies. There are some bigger enterprises involved but most of the fines have been levied against small businesses who have failed to pay one or two people correctly. The conclusion, therefore, is that every company, no matter how small, needs to be diligent in paying staff correctly otherwise they are likely to suffer the consequences.
There are no moving companies on the list.
Photo: Business Minister Andrew Griffiths