There are big names among them – but is it all as bad as it seems?
You’ll see a lot in the business press today about the 37 companies that HMRC has publicly named and shamed on its website for not paying national minimum wage.
There are a couple of very recognisable names among them.
Elsewhere, some businesses have short-changed workers by on average £1,000 each.
That’s a significant amount by anyone’s standards, but even more so if you’re a full-time worker expecting a a year’s salary on national minimum wage, which works out at only £12,875 in the first place.
And it’s hard to see how those businesses could have made such large mistakes without an employee flagging it to them.
But before we get into the list in full (which you can see at the bottom of this article), we want to point out that some businesses on the list seem to have made relatively small slips.
Understandable or unforgiveable?
Take H&M, for example – the most well-known company on the list (full name H&M Hennes & Mauritz UK Ltd, London).
It neglected to pay £2,604.87 to 540 workers.
Which seems like quite the oversight – until you realise that it only works out as a shortfall of £4.82 on average per worker.
H&M has released a statement saying: “H&M employs over 9,500 people in the United Kingdom. Unfortunately due to errors within some of our stores concerning time logging, 540 employees were accidentally underpaid the national minimum wage.
“The average underpayment for those affected was £4.82. All such arrears were immediately processed and we accept that the errors should not have occurred.
“HMRC have confirmed that they were happy with H&M’s complete transparency cooperation and full engagement with the process.”
It’s never acceptable to not pay workers what they’re owed – but this is just a heads up to be slightly cautious about any headlines elsewhere that might be a tad more sensationalist about H&M’s error.
Welcome Break Holdings Ltd in Newport Pagnell is the other big name on HMRC’s list – it is, of course, the operator of service stations along motorways and in other locations.
It underpaid 19 workers by £1,318.70.
That’s on average £69.40 each.
The BBC reports Welcome Break chief executive Rod McKie saying: “The initial breach was brought to light as an employee complained to the HMRC that her pay rate had not been increased correctly upon reaching her 21st birthday.”
National minimum wage is £5.13 an hour for those aged 18-20, increasing to £6.50 an hour for those aged 21 and over.
The company said it then looked into the matter more and realised that it had failed to increase other people’s pay bracket upon them turning 21.
Business underpaying by more than £1,000
Other offenders seem to have underpaid workers by far more.
Mrs Kelly Jayne Lockley, trading as Diva Hair Design, Walsall, failed to pay a staggering £4,103.65 to a worker.
Louise Ross, trading as Luxe Salon, Leeds, neglected to pay £3,368.13 to a single employee.
Kings Group LLP in Hertfordshire neglected to pay £53,808.91 to 53 workers – underpaying each by more than £1,000 on average.
Chi Yip Group Ltd, Middleton, neglected to pay £15,566.78 to 13 workers, an average shortfall of £1,197.44 each.
You can see more examples in the full list below.
In total, the 37 companies owe workers £177,000 and have been charged penalties totalling more than £51,000.
The government will use the money to increase the National Minimum Wage enforcement budget.
Business Minister Jo Swinson said: “Paying less than the minimum wage is illegal, immoral and completely unacceptable.
“If employers break this law they need to know that we will take tough action by naming, shaming and fining them as well as helping workers recover the hundreds of thousands of pounds in pay owed to them.
“We are also looking at what more we can do to make sure workers are paid fairly in the first place. As well as being publicly named and shamed, employers that fail to pay their workers the National Minimum Wage face penalties of up to £20,000.
“We are legislating through the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Bill so that this penalty can be applied to each underpaid worker rather than per employer.”
The government has named 55 employers since October 2013, when it brought in new regulation to make it easier to name and shame employers that underpaid staff.
Here’s the list in full
- Kings Group LLP, Hertfordshire, neglected to pay £53,808.91 to 53 workers
- Kings Group Lettings LLP, Hertfordshire, neglected to pay £26,893.43 to 49 workers
- Chi Yip Group Ltd, Middleton, neglected to pay £15,566.78 to 13 workers
- Kingsclere Nurseries Ltd trading as Abacus Day Nursery, Newbury, neglected to pay £12,904.19 to 8 workers.
- Ms Thap Thi Ly trading as Sweet N Sour, Fleetwood, neglected to pay £11,039.14 to 2 workers
- Michael Kearney trading as Electrical Estimates, Ceredigion, neglected to pay £5,557.91 to 4 workers
- ABC Early Learning and Childcare Centre UK Ltd, Wolverhampton, neglected to pay £5,329.25 to 68 workers
- C J Hartley Ltd trading as Headwork, Sheffield, neglected to pay £4,762.64 to 4 workers
- Mrs Kelly Jayne Lockley trading as Diva Hair Design, Walsall, neglected to pay £4,103.65 to a worker
- Browncow Tanning Ltd trading as Fake Bake Hair & Beauty Boutique, Glasgow, neglected to pay £3,406.66 to 2 workers
- J Wood Joiners & Builders Ltd, Edinburgh, neglected to pay £3,373.19 to 4 workers
- Louise Ross Trading as Luxe Salon, Leeds, neglected to pay £3,368.13 to a worker
- H&M Hennes & Mauritz UK Ltd, London, neglected to pay £2,604.87 to 540 workers
- Building Projects Ltd, Dundee, neglected to pay £2,345.85 to 3 workers
- David A Farrer Ltd, Morecambe, neglected to pay £2,261.00 to a worker
- Julian’s Hair Salon Ltd, Newbury, neglected to pay £2,131.35 to a worker
- Motorists Discount Store Ltd trading as TMS Autoparts, Manchester, neglected to pay £2,025.19 to a worker
- Ms Dawn Platts trading as Level 2 Hair Studio, Barnsley, neglected to pay £1,186.89 to a worker
- Myers and Family Ltd, Wakefield, neglected to pay £1.598.82 to a worker
- Welcome Break Holdings Ltd, Newport Pagnell, neglected to pay £1,318.70 to 19 workers
- Callum Austin Ltd trading as Jason Austin Hairdressers, Kettering, neglected to pay £1,899.66 to 2 workers
- Mrs Karen Riley Trading as Crave, Preston, neglected to pay £1,179.09 to 7 workers
- RPM Performance Rally World Ltd, Maldon, neglected to pay £998.71 to a worker
- Ego Hair & Beauty (Anglia) Ltd, Colchester, neglected to pay £985.55 to a worker
- Mr Jinit Shah trading as Crystal Financial Solutions, Middlesex, neglected to pay £941.65 to a worker
- Counted4 Community Interest Company, Sunderland, neglected to pay £930.73 to a worker
- HAE Automotive Services Ltd, Harrogate (ceased trading), neglected to pay £798.16 to a worker
- Vision on Digital Ltd, Ossett, neglected to pay £683.86 to a worker
- Ultimate Care UK Ltd, Ipswich, neglected to pay £613.79 to 7 workers
- Century Motors (Sheffield) Ltd, Sheffield, neglected to pay £571.72 to a worker
- Mr D Eastwell & Mr G Brinkler trading as The Salon, Letchworth Garden City, neglected to pay £409.85 to a worker
- Rumble (Bedworth) Ltd, Nuneaton, neglected to pay £404.41 to a worker
- Shannons Ltd, Worthing neglected to pay £313.76 to a worker
- Holmes Cleaning Company, Worksop neglected to pay £240.48 to a worker
- Learnplay Foundation Ltd, West Bromwich, neglected to pay £224.7
3 to a worker
- Adrien Mackenzie trading as Maverick Models, Manchester, neglected to pay £205.52 to a worker
- QW Security Ltd, Hartlepool, neglected to pay £126.20 to a worker