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22,400 minimum wage workers get millions in back pay

10 July 2018

22,400 minimum wage workers get millions in back payThe Government has published the names of 239 employers found to have underpaid 22,400 UK workers by a total of £1.44 million.

The employers were fined an additional £1.97 million for underpaying the National Living and Minimum Wage (NMW). The earliest underpayment dated back to 2011.

Business minister Andrew Griffiths said: "Our priority is making sure workers know their rights and are getting the pay they worked hard for. Employers who don't do the right thing face fines as well as being hit with the bill for back pay.

"The UK's lowest paid workers have had the fastest wage growth in 20 years thanks to the introduction of the National Living Wage and today's list serves as a reminder to all employers to check they are getting their workers' pay right."

The top five reasons for NMW and Living Wage underpayments were:

  • Taking deductions from wages for costs such as uniforms;
  • Underpaying apprentices;
  • Failing to pay travel time;
  • Misusing the accommodation offset;
  • Using the wrong time periods for calculating pay.

Bryan Sanderson, chairman of the Low Pay Commission, said: "It is … encouraging to see that HMRC has recovered unpaid wages for the largest number of workers yet in this round of naming and shaming. I'm confident that the Government will continue to pursue underpayment of the minimum wage vigorously."

Funding for minimum wage enforcement has more than doubled since 2015, with the Government set to spend £26.3m in 2018/19. Employers who pay workers less than the minimum wage have to pay back arrears of wages to the worker at current minimum wage rates and face financial penalties of up to 200% of arrears, capped at £20,000 per worker.

The Government is running a campaign to raise awareness of the National Living Wage and National Minimum Wage rates, which increased on 1 April 2018, as well as encouraging workers who have been underpaid to complain to HMRC.

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