Following investigations by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), a total of £2.1 million was found to be owed to over 34,000 workers.
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.
In 2011 the UK Government set the National Living Wage to £8.91 an hour. Every single UK worker is entitled to the National Minimum Wage, no matter their age or profession.
Whilst not all minimum wage underpayments are intentional, it is the responsibility of all employers to abide by the law.
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 today 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
Swansea Bay businesses named and shamed
Millenium Care Ltd, Neath Port Talbot, SA11, failed to pay £28871.77 to 40 workers. Director Karen Egan told the BBC that “the firm had not been aware of all legal obligations, but was now fully compliant”.
Chilton Motors Limited, Pembrokeshire, SA71, failed to pay £4171.87 to 1 worker.
Meadow Street Motors Limited trading as D L Motors, Swansea, SA1, failed to pay £956.26 to 1 worker
Teifi Tots Limited, Carmarthenshire, SA38, failed to pay £939.55 to 17 workers.
Staff had not been paid for doing “courses that are required as part of their contract” according to Claire Thomas at the firm.
Automec Swansea Limited, Swansea, SA1, failed to pay £892.12 to 1 worker. The firm was dissolved in 2019.
National firms also in the spotlight
Department store John Lewis plc failed to pay £941,355.67 to 19,392 workers.
Convenience store Martin McColl Retail Limited failed to pay £258,047.80 to 4,366 workers
Convenience store One Stop Stores Limited failed to pay £56,505.04 to 2,631 workers
Motorway Service station company Welcome Break Holdings Limited failed to pay £49,031.77 to 1,591 workers
UK 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 1 million workers.
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.”
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