The government has named and shamed nearly 240 employers which underpaid workers on the national living and minimum wage. Not only will these companies have to pay in total £1.44 million in back pay but they also will be fined an additional £1.97 million.
Some employers underpaid workers by cutting their wages to pay for uniforms, underpaying apprentices and failing to pay travel time. Companies also used the wrong time periods for calculating pay or misused accommodation rates, whereby employers can offset the cost of providing workers on minimum wage with free accommodation.
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 current minimum wage is £7.83 for those aged 25-plus, £7.38 for 21- to 24-year-olds, £5.90 for 18- to 20-year-olds, and £4.20 for those aged under 18.
The 239 employers named include several sports clubs such as Bristol City Football Club, which failed to pay a collective £14,342 to 50 workers, Manchester Sale Rugby Club, which owed one worker £7,445, Durham County Cricket Club, which owed two workers £6,029 collectively, and Dundee Football Club, which owed £2,134 to four workers collectively.
However, the worst offenders were Sportswift Ltd, the company behind Card Factory, which failed to pay a collective £430,000 to around 10,000 workers; and T.J. Morris, which trades as Home Bargains, which collectively owed £272,228 to 6,743 workers.
Business minister Andrew Griffiths says: “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, adds: “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.
The scheme to call out employers who have fallen foul of minimum wage laws is in its fifth year and has so far identified £10.8 million in back pay for around 90,000 workers, with more than 1,900 employers fined a total of £8.4 million.