A number of high-profile employers have been publically “named and shamed” after not paying staff the legal minimum wage.
Sports Direct and Primark are among the 260 companies said to have repaid workers millions of pounds.
The figures, published by the Department for Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), show that businesses were also fined a total of £1.3 million by the Government.
The BEIS report says the most common reason for underpaying workers were 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.
“That’s why today we are naming hundreds of employers who have been short changing their workers; and to ensure there are consequences for their wallets as well as their reputation, we’ve levied millions in back pay and fines.”
Bryan Sanderson, Chairman of the Low Pay Commission, added: “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.”
The current National Minimum Wage (NMW) is £7.50 for workers over the age of 25. This will increase to £7.83 in April 2018. Employers who fail to pay the NMW can face a penalty of up to £20,000 per worker.