The Government has named and shamed nearly 50 employers for illegally paying some staff less than the minimum wage – including childcare nurseries, restaurants and a 99p store.
The employers, which owe a total of £162,000 in arrears, spanned sectors in fashion, publishing and hospitality, and include a Champneys spa, a French Connection store in London, and a branch of hairdressing chain Toni and Guy.
Toni and Guy said:
“As a company with over 400 salons globally under its brand umbrella, we do not condone any kind of mishandling of staff wages. Once made aware, the franchisee resolved the issue swiftly.”
Fashion retailer French Connection UK, in London, failed to pay almost £16,500 to 367 workers, while Freedom Sportsline – trading as Foot Locker – owes more than £16,700 to 601 employees.
The accused companies have 28 days to respond to the allegations.
More than 200 employers have now been ‘named and shamed’ since a new regime came into force in October 2013, with total arrears of £635,000 and penalties of almost £250,000.
Business Minister Jo Swinson said:
“There’s no excuse for companies that don’t pay staff the wages they’re entitled to – whether by wilfully breaking the law, or making irresponsible mistakes.
“The Government is protecting workers by cracking down on employers who ignore minimum wage rules. In addition to naming and shaming, we’ve increased the penalty fines and boosted the resources available to investigate non-compliance.”
Newham council in east London called on the government to allow local authorities to tackle businesses failing to pay the minimum wage.
A report by the council and the GMB union said more than £500 million was lost to workers across the country because firms paid below the statutory minimum rate.
The TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said:
“It’s great to see more cheapskate bosses brought to justice for not paying the minimum wage. It’s a constant battle though, and despite the growing list of those named and shamed there are many other employers still getting away with it.”