It has recently been announced in a Government press release that 239 employers have failed to pay 22,400 workers the minimum wage. As such, these employers have been fined a record £1.97million, as well as ordered to repay the workers £1.44million.
Employers have also been named and shamed from SMEs to well-known UK businesses such as football, rugby and cricket clubs, cafes, hotels, pubs, restaurants, garden centres and care homes.
It is unlawful to pay an employee or worker below the minimum wage, otherwise an employer could be liable not only for the balance of those wages to be repaid to the worker, but could also face financial penalties of up to 200%, capped at £20,000 for each employee and worker.
Employers should be warned that the Government are now in their fifth year of stepping up efforts to enforce the minimum wage, with the Government spending over £25million in 2018/2019 in enforcement action. Over £10 million has been identified in back pay for almost 100,000 workers, with almost 2,000 employers fined over £8 million.
The underpayment of wages, some of which back date to 2011, are for a number of reasons, including deductions for staff uniforms, underpaying apprentices, failing to pay travel time and miscalculating pay.
One of the issues arising from the Government’s press release is the significant number of employers who do not understand how to determine whether the minimum wage has been paid, in particular whether certain deductions and payments can be used in calculating total remuneration for the purposes of minimum wage.