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17 January 2019
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Hairdressing businesses were 'prolific offenders' © iStock

12 December 2017 | Herpreet Kaur Grewal

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has named 260 employers for failing to pay 16,000 workers at least minimum wage rates.


Government investigators identified £1.7 million in back pay for some of the UK’s lowest-paid workers and fined employers £1.3 million for underpayment.


Retail, hairdressing and hospitality businesses were among the most prolific offenders in this round. Common reasons for errors made include: failing to pay workers travelling between jobs, deducting money from pay for uniforms and not paying for overtime.


Business minister Margot James said: “There is no excuse for not paying staff the wages they’re entitled to and the government will come down hard on businesses that break the rules.”


James added that companies who did not pay would have “consequences for their wallets as well as their reputation” and the government had “levied millions in back pay and fines”.


Bryan Sanderson, chairman of the Low Pay Commission, said: “The Low Pay Commission’s conversations with employers suggest that the risk of being named is encouraging businesses to focus on compliance.


“Further, it is good to see that HMRC continues to target large employers who have underpaid a large number of workers, as well as cases involving only a few workers, where workers are at risk of the most serious exploitation. It is imperative that the government keeps up the pressure on all employers who commit breaches of minimum wage law.”


If workers are concerned they are not being paid the correct rates then they can seek advice from workplace experts Acas.


Since 2013, the scheme has identified £8 million in back pay for 58,000 workers, with 1,500 employers fined a total of £5 million. This year the government will spend a record £25.3 million on minimum wage enforcement.


Rates will rise again in April 2018, giving young workers in particular the biggest pay boost in a decade.


The full list of employers can be found here.