The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) has named 361 businesses who underpaid 15,521 workers a total of £995,684, with employers in the hairdressing, hospitality and retail sectors the most prolific offenders.
As well as recovering back pay for some of the UK’s lowest paid workers, HMRC issued penalties worth around £800,000.
Employers who failed to pay workers at least the National Living Wage have been named and shamed for the first time since the Government introduced the higher £7.20 rate for workers aged 25 and over last year.
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.
Secretary of State for Wales, Alun Cairns, said:
This record naming and shaming round sends out the clear message to employers across Wales that underpaying workers the legal minimum will not go unpunished.
This Government is committed to building an economy that works for all and April’s increase in the national minimum and living wage rates will put more money into the pockets of Wales’ lowest paid workers.
The rate increases on 1 April shows it pays to be in work and I am confident it will help support the high levels of employment throughout Wales.
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.
The 361 employers have been named.
The publication comes weeks after the Government launched a £1.7 million national minimum and living wage awareness-raising campaign, encouraging the UK’s lowest paid workers to check they are being paid the correct rates and to report their employer if they are not.
Since the naming and shaming scheme was introduced by BEIS in October 2013, more than 1,000 employers have been named, with arrears totalling more than £4.5 million. More than £2 million in fines have been issued to national minimum and living wage offenders.
There are currently more than 1,500 open cases which HMRC are investigating.