The Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has named and shamed a record number of employers for failing to pay the National Minimum Wage and National Living Wage.

National Minimum Wage

The list names 359 employers, including Debenhams and Subway, who between them underpaid 15,513 workers a total of £994,685. As well as being named and shamed the employers on the list will be required to pay back pay to the workers who they underpaid plus penalties totalling around £800,000.

Employers in the hairdressing, hospitality, retail and social care sectors feature prominently in this naming and shaming round.

Excuses given 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 wages.

Current National Minimum Wage rates

The current minimum wage rates are:

  • £7.20 per hour for workers aged 25 and over
  • £6.95 per hour for workers aged between 21 and 24
  • £5.55 per hour for workers aged between 18 and 20
  • £4.00 per hour for workers aged 16 and 17
  • £3.40 per hour for apprentices aged under 19 or aged 19 or over and in the first year of their apprenticeship

 

National Minimum Wage rates from 1 April 2017

The rates are set to increase on 1 April to:

  • £7.50 per hour for workers aged 25 and over
  • £7.05 per hour for workers aged between 21 and 24
  • £5.60 per hour for workers aged between 18 and 20
  • £4.05 per hour for workers aged 16 and 17
  • £3.50 per hour for apprentices aged under 19 or aged 19 or over and in the first year of their apprenticeship

 

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 financial penalties of up to 200% of arrears, capped at £20,000 per worker and in the most serious cases employers can be prosecuted.